Catching up on news over at the root this morning, I ended up reminiscing on Erin Evans’ pop-cultural survey of black preachers. And as I watched the very last video, “Stand Up” from Polly (1989), I got tears in my eyes.
Also included in the same video survey is the opening sequence from the show Amen (1986-1991), that starred Sherman Hemsley, Clifton Davis, Anna Maria Horsford and Roz Ryan. So I was in full “back-in-the-day” mode.
I started thinking about the network shows that we have right now, and wondering how we can call this progress. Is there anything even close to Amen, or Family Matters, or even Martin or Living Single on network tv anymore? Shoot, even though I’ve never watched The Game, I just learned that it and Everybody Hates Chris will be dropped from the last network to air black sitcoms CW next year. (I actually only heard about The Game this spring, with all the talk about trying to keep it from getting canceled. Sometimes I’m out of the loop.)
So, uh, what happened? I’ll grant that more people are watching cable now, but there aren’t really more shows with POCs on cable, unless you’re watching children’s programming (a la Cory in the House & True Jackson), or the Tyler Perry fare on TBS. How did things change so drastically from then [70s/80s/early 90s] to now?
And yet, I know some people will still bring up BET if I were to broach this topic in conversation. [As in the tired: “well, you have a whole network! what do you think the NAACP would do if there was a WET?”] Of course, I don’t really watch BET anymore, either. Hollywood isn’t quite as liberal/all-encompassing as some would have us think it is.
Oh – and is there a petition or something to sign so we can get Polly on DVD? Cuz I need that.