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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at NCAT chapter.

Over the years the state of Black television and the culture of Black media has evolved immensely. The start of the journey was harsh but as time went on there became more demand for television shows that were meant for the Black community.  

When Black people first made their debut on television there was a lot of stereotyping and poor depiction of the Black community and the race as an entity, which many did not appreciate. Then there were great shows that showcased the wholesomeness and humility in the Black community.

For example, there were shows like Amos ‘n’ Andy that were controversial because they showcased Blacks in some positive lights but they also used the show to antagonize the offensive and derogatory stereotypes of the Black community. Many enjoyed the show but a number of Black leaders and activists were opposed to the incorrect and offensive material.

Fast forward years later and we had shows like The Jeffersons, Good Times, The Cosby Show, and so many more that began to embrace the solidarity, love, excellence, and soul of the Black community.

For decades to follow there were cool shows that appealed to younger generations such as 227, A Different World, Family Matters, and so on.

Shows like Moesha, Sister, Sister, and Smart Guy had all the 90s babies glued to their tv’s and embracing themselves even more because they had mature and “hip” but still sending positive messages.

Even our mom’s had great shows between the 90s and early 2000s. Shows like Girlfriends and Living Single to keep them preoccupied during a little down time.

As time has passed however, the options for great sitcoms and Black entertainment in general has become saturated, stereotypical once again, and indecent. What was once full of everyday lessons on life, unity, perseverance, and morality has now turned into a whirlwind of reality television and too many corny sitcoms that often times still feed into negative stereotypes and does the Black community no justice whatsoever.

Without even noticing so much of the media and televisions has shaped the way we view not only each other but also ourselves. By dedicating so much attention to the negativity offered in many television shows that oversexualize women, hypermasculize men, and undermine our value as an entire community, we allow ourselves to be mockable and unaware of the messages we are truly sharing with the world.

There are shows that are written and executed so well to please the audience yet still leave many people demanding more. Those shows are often also criticised for the lead roles being Black women sleeping with White men or Black men choosing White women over Black women and a number of other issues with racial undertones.

There are even some programs that feed into the same negative stereotypes that reality shows do, such as flashiness, criminalization, and the countless other false taglines have been given to the Black community to carry.

As of lately however, there has been a noticeable turn around in popular and commendable entertainment on television geared towards the Black community. We now have shows like Black-ish to show us the Black experience in white suburbia, the fresh first full season of Atlanta to show the very relatable struggle of chasing one’s dreams and the everyday mishaps of being a poor, Black male in America, and also Issa Rae’s hilariously engaging debut to televisions everywhere via Insecure.

The importance for that depict Black people as what we are, multifaceted and multidimensional people, is real. We are whole, we are complex, we are love, we are funny, we are excellent, we are strength, we are happy, and we are brilliant. Why not make sure that what we share on television is not a true and wholesome portrayal of that?

I am Alexis Hooper, President of the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University chapter of Her Campus.
Hi everyone! I am a sophomore at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University who should be majoring in Weddings, but is actually a Journalism & Mass Communications student with a concentration in Multimedia. Originally I am from Woodbridge, Virginia, which is about 30 minutes south of our nation’s capital. I have lived here all my life, but I’m not afraid to branch out and explore the world. This past summer I studied abroad in Sydney, Australia to engage and immerse myself in Australian culture. The experience was phenomenal and I’m already counting down the days until I can return that beautiful country. Check out my Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.