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If We're Going to Celebrate Black Achievement on the Big Screen Then Lets Celebrate It All

February 28, 2018

 

 

With all the celebratory hype about The Black Panther movie it brought back memories of the black TV shows and films that I grew up watching.  I guess I was part of a luckier generation when it comes to black representation on TV and in Movies, as in the 80s and 90s we had tons of positive black representation in visual stories, and also in the early 2000s.  So I say if we're going to celebrate let's celebrate them all and remember all those shows and films that gave us hours of positive, funny, intelligent, creative black TV and movie characters and casts. And also, in the process, hopefully introduce these TV shows and movies to those too young to maybe be aware of there existence!

 

So let's celebrate A Different World and all the strong black characters that attended Hillman University, a black institute of higher education that showed black people pursuing degrees and elevating their minds while still having fun and bringing up relevant cultural and political issues. 

 

 

Let's celebrate Desmond's, the Caribbean barbershop owner running his own business!  Supported by his strong wife, Shirley, raising his two teenage kids and swapping stories with his best friend Pork Pie and the African intellectual, Mathew.

 

 

Let's celebrate The Real McCoy and Russell Simmon's show, Def Comedy Jam, for giving black comedians a platform on which to shine!  With The Real McCoy bringing us sketches like 'Damn Fool Man,' and Def Comedy Jam introducing us to comedians like Dave Chappelle, Bernie Mac, and DL Hughley. 

 

  

Let's celebrate the black family shows like The Cosby Show, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, The Sinbad Show, In the House, My Wife and Kids, Smart Guy, Everybody Hates Chris and Hanging with Mr Cooper.  Shows that had black fathers, mothers and mentors teaching  their kids relevant lessons.  These were shows where black fathers and mothers had jobs as lawyers, doctors, school teachers, judges, and blue collar, working- class jobs that they all worked hard at.  Where any family member or friend in need was always taken in and looked after.

 

Let's celebrate and remember chilling with Moesha, asking 'who loves orange soda?' with Kenan and Kel, and jamming with Sister Sister.

 

 

 

Let's remember and celebrate when black movies were all over our screens, setting trends and showing the realness, the joys and the struggles!  Movies like Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing, Malcolm X and She's Gotta Have It. Films like The Colour Purple, Cry Freedom, New Jack City, Boyz in the Hood, Menace to Society and When We Were Kings.

 

 

 

Let's celebrate the deep love connections shown in the stories of movies like Love and Basketball, Brown Sugar, Love Jones, Jason's Lyric and Poetic Justice.  Let's remember Whitney Houston and the other black women who were Waiting To Exhale, the black females who Set It Off, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, and the brothers and sisters from The Wood and The Best Man.

 

 

Let's remember those that made us laugh and feel good with Friday, Harlem Nights, The Original Kings of Comedy, Soul Food, Soul Plane and Barbershop.

 

Let's celebrate Wesley Snipes, Blade the Day Walker, who saved the world from rich monsters sucking the blood out of society. Mr Passenger 57, the original, kick boxing, black action hero,  who taught everyone to 'always bet on black,' and introduced the world to Jungle Fever.

 

 

Let's celebrate The Golden Child, Eddie Murphy, Mr Beverly Hills Cop, Mr Trading Places, the original prince from Africa, Coming to America to find his bride and sow his wild oats.  With his face on his own money, and saving the day from gun wielding robbers with nothing but a mop stick. The prince of Zamunda! Always with a big smile on his face and treating everyone with respect.

 

 

Let's remember and celebrate Richard Pryor, the original king of black stand up comedy!  On a mission to spend his Brewster's Millions, Bustin Loose, going Stir Crazy, and saving Superman's life in Superman 3.

 

 

Let's celebrate like Kid and Play showed us how to in House Party and remember the fact that they even made a black version of The Wizard of Oz called The Wiz, with Diana Ross and Michael Jackson!

 

Let's not forget the black superheroes who came before! Spawn, Blade, Blank man, Meteor man, Steel, and the cartoons of Static Shock and Hammer Man, Hammer! And his magic shoes.  

 

 

Let's celebrate the actors that have been representing for decades, from Sammy Davis Junior to Denzel Washington, Forest Whittaker, Danny Glover, James Earl Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, Sidney Poitier, Cuba Gooding Jr, Will Smith, Morgan Freeman, Idris Elba, Jesse Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Jada Pinkett Smith, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox, Hallie Berry, Omar Epps, Morris Chestnut, Sean Nelson, Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Nia Long, and the list goes on and on and on.

  

Let's celebrate and remember how far we've actually come and all those who made those steps to bring us here. We don't need an Oscar to validate our work and talent. We don't need box office gross figures to let us know how worthy the work put in has been and always will be.  We know it, we see it, we feel it! We've created classics, set trends, made history, and will continue to elevate things.

 

Today Black Panther is smashing records! Dave Chappelle's latest Netflix specials, Equanimity and Bird Revelation, are smashing records!  Movies like Get Out and Moonlight are critically acclaimed award winning movies!  We are, and always have been, good at storytelling!  So let's celebrate and remember because we have this tendency to allow social media to make us forget what we have and what we've achieved.  And not just for black people but for all races, genders and sexual orientations.   I could write a post like this for all of them!

 

So again, let's celebrate it all!  What is now and what came before, from every generation! It's our history, our landmark steps. And they prove that we will forever have many things to be proud of!

 

Emmanuel Adelekun

The Vivid Scribe