The Problem With Empire, Scandal & Power | Convo

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This weekend my eyes were opened to a lot. Three of the most popular shows out right now with black leading cast members are Empire, Scandal and Power. Although these shows are VERY entertaining they are damning to the fabric, culture and perception of the African-American community. Some of you will probably stop reading this right now but remember, ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s just ignorance. I’ve watched and enjoyed all these shows but let’s take a look at what these shows represent.

Empire. People see the Lyons family and they say “success”. Once again Hollywood is showing us the only way to get out of the hood (which is where Lucious and Cookie came from) is through drugs and music. I shouldn’t be surprised that this is the agenda that they push considering Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch (who also runs the ridiculously racially biased Fox News). Empire comes on at the same time and same night as ABC’s black-ish and the new NBC show, The Carmichael Show which many people haven’t even heard of. Why? Well we like to be entertained. We like drama. Those latter shows show an African-American family who are successful and who don’t operate in dysfunction. Someone told me “but those shows aren’t realistic”. Excuse me? I grew up in one of those families. We ate together. We watched TV together. Both parents were in the home. We weren’t trying to steal from each other, sleep with each others significant others, kill each other and all of this other ridiculous drama that we see on Empire. What happened to showing successful positive black families? The Huxtables, The Banks, The Kings (Jamie Foxx Show), Flex and Brianna Washington (One on One)?

Scandal. So apparently (SPOILER ALERT) Olivia Pope revealed to the world that she’s the president’s mistress this past week. All on my timeline I read “she’s so brave” and “she has so much courage”. WHAT? She’s sleeping around town and interfering in someone’s marriage. Where’s the courage in that? I get it. Olivia Pope represents a strong black woman in the political world. Just like in Being Mary Jane Gabrielle Union is represented as a strong black woman in media. Where these portrayals go wrong is they have our women sleeping around and almost insinuating that they have to sleep around to get ahead. Clair Huxtable never represented this. Look at Living Single. Maxine was a lawyer. Khadijah owned her own newspaper. But now, it seems like the powers that be in Hollywood will show us “in places of power” but then have our women seem powerless when it comes to men.

Power. This right here is my favorite yet the one I have to let go the most. I can’t speak out against drugs, gang violence and telling our youth to get off the streets then turn around and promote this show. Ghost. We see him as a success right? But he’s built his fortune off of the backs, bodies and blood of others. You can be a black man and be in a position of power without all of these things. Dennis Haysbert did a phenomenal job on 24 playing President David Palmer. James Avery played Judge Phillip Banks. Chi McBride played a successful principal on Boston Public. None of these men were slinging drugs, putting down bodies or breaking the law.

So what’s the point? The point is they will give us what we support. I feel like we as a people accept anything. Someone said to me this weekend, “well at least we are on TV”. NO. That shouldn’t be the mentality. Unfortunately we live in an age where the media has a major impact on our youth whether we like it or not. Hollywood knows what they’re doing. They are conditioning our minds and showing us this is who we are and we embrace it. We need more people in Hollywood like DeVon Franklin who are committed to showing our people in a positive light.

I want to challenge you with something and it’s something I am going to do too.

Turn off Scandal. Turn off Empire. Turn off Power.

We have to demand more from our actors and actress but also demand more from our Hollywood writers. Give black-ish a chance. Give The Carmichael Show a chance. Support guys like Hill Harper who’s played a doctor on CSI:NY and is preparing to star as a special agent on Limitless. Support actresses like Nicole Beharie who plays as a detective on Sleepy Hollow. We don’t have to just accept anything and everything that the machine pushes out. Let’s stop being dumbed down family. Let’s stop acting like the only way to make it sleeping around, pushing weight, and making music. [highlight color=”yellow”]We as black people are so much more. We have so much more potential.[/highlight]

Comments

22 COMMENTS

  1. The phrase “well at least we are on TV” is akin to drinking poison and saying, “at least I got a drink”.  If this is the garbage Hollywood wants to feed the world, it’d be better to not be on TV.  At least then people wouldn’t be biased by Hollywood’s outrageous portrayal of black america.

  2. Doc I stop watching it smh they sad spirit real parents ask da question y my child action like dis look wat they watch on TV smh sad but so!!! Jus get da holy ghost

  3. This article is dumb as hell. I am so sick of black folk trying to condone what’s right  or wrong to watch. Shut up already. Do you see white folks sitting up writing scathing articles on Breaking Bad, Shameless and The Affair? If you’re so close minded and short sighted that you can watch Scandal and only see Olivia Pope as an adulterer then you shouldn’t be watching tv, period. The details of this article is also wrong. Some would say The Carmichael Show is coonery and not a great representation of black folks. So what the hell is Micah talking about? Also, when has Scandal or Being Mary Jane showed that these women needed to get ahead. Where did that come from?

    The writer of this article is insane. Stop comparing what’s on now to what you’ve seen before. It’s not Mara, Shonda, Lee or Courtney’s job to pacify you. They write what they feel is right for them. Who the hell wants to see the likes of Clair Huxtable on the screen all the time. That gets pretty boring. We as humans are complex and flawed human beings so why can’t Primetime reflect that. Enough is enough.

  4. MicahButler And people might take your opinion more seriously if you weren’t such a wanna be know-it-all and a pretentious jackass. I articulate just fine. I find it funny you have the nerve to use that response when the article you wrote is full of fallacies.

  5. Wow. You really went in. I stopped looking at Scandal because it’s confusing, whenever a new actor/actress they will most likely sleep with somebody, it’s raunchy, and it has lost my interest. Power has too much cussing and its raunchy too. Empire….I need God’s help to stop watching that show U0001f605. I miss the 90s black shows.

  6. Dont mention that new show about the underground railroad…come on….we need another cosby show. Just a normal show with successful african americans….my goodness..

  7. Marta Krawiec We were just talking about this this afternoon! “The Message” that’s being pushed through media. U0001f603

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