Hey Soul Sistas presents Talk About It Tuesday ∞ The Great Debate Over Black Female Characters
Even if you have never seen an episode of Scandal you are aware of the popularity the show has gained. Being Mary Jane starring Gabrielle Union has also become rather popular with black women. Tyler Perry’s The Haves And Have Nots on the OWN Network has become a must watch for many black households as well. Personally, I am thrilled to see television shows starring black women doing so well. As I roam through cyber space I have found articles, blogs, and videos questioning whether the black women characters on these hit shows are positive representatives of the black woman. Many have an issue with Scandal’s Olivia Pope and the Mary Jane of Being Mary Jane because they are mistresses. There are people, mostly black women, that believe that these characters are negative and the fact that they are so popular is disturbing. Adding to the critics’ concerns are the black women represented on Tyler Perry’s The Haves & Have Nots. After the show first aired, viewers actually petitioned Oprah Winfrey to take it off the air. For years people were concerned that the only representation of black women on television were on reality shows that focused on drama, drama, and drama.
I do not understand what is all the fuss about. With so many real life positive examples of black women why are people getting all twisted over fictional characters. Instead of sounding off, protesting, and pointing fingers why don’t we applaud the black women who have taken these characters and made them relatable although they are flawed. Let’s rejoice in the fact that black women are represented on scripted television shows that are successful. The Game, another show that has caught hell for their representation of black women, is the only show to return after being off the air for several years. Let’s celebrate those victories. Let us applaud Kerry Washington for becoming the first female African American star in a network drama since 1974. I know that as black women it is difficult to see ourselves represented, in any capacity, as flawed humans; yet, the truth is we are not perfect. We are flawed, but what makes our lives worth living is the journey and as we watch these television shows unfold these women are doing the same as us, just trying to make it through the journey the best manner they know how. I am afraid that if we continue to hate, bash, and even disown these female African American characters we will miss out on history being created right before our eyes.
What are your thoughts?