Blackness | Television

Black TV in the Future

A friend shared access to their HBO Max account with me. I can only watch from my phone or video game console since I pretty much have a Roku-centric home. I figured I’d strictly use that and Peacock as my lunch time viewing when I have to go into the office. It would make using these new services a bit of a treat. The challenge here is that I don’t rewatch TV shows figuring once is enough so finding something interesting in the new offerings is not as easy as I would like. Netflix is still winning in that regard.

I decided to settle on I May Destroy You. The reviews I get in my personally curated feeds have been good and I am interested in the lead actress. I was halfway through the first episode when I realized that this was really a Black show, not that the issues that came up were specifically about the lives of Black people specifically, but that all the key actors were Black. It shouldn’t be an issue. When I was growing up, all the actors in most TV shows I watched were White. That didn’t make them White shows to me per se but it’s noticeable when it’s the other way around. The key here for me is that I think this story could have just been easily told with a mostly White cast but in this case it wasn’t. I really like that. The show speaks to a lifestyle I am not overly familiar with but nearly everyone looks like me nonetheless and so far, I’m not finished with the series, being Black is not the issue of the show at all. I had to take a moment to appreciate that such a thing can exist and be of critical acclaim.

I’m hoping that the future of Black people on television is not BET+ and OWN. Industry and systemic racism aside, it’s nice to see good shows that just happen to star a mostly Black cast; especially those not about racism, slavery or the plight of being Black in a mostly White country. Now I need this to bleed more into the genre’s I love like fantasy and science fiction. Can you say afrofuturism boys and girls? I can.

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