There was nothing on the TV the other night so I put in a DVD. I am a big one for nostalgia of late – reliving the culture of the time when I was in my early twenties and remembering the god times I had then, so I put in my Season One DVD of Living Single. Remember that show? It was really funny, especially Maxine Shaw, Attorney-at-Law and Kyle insulting each other. And who could forget Regine’s ‘Aw sookie sookie now,’ when she witnessed some good gossip. Watching this got me thinking about black people in TV.
In the UK it is dismal when it comes to black people in the media. There’s no such thing as a black TV show here. They had one a while back called The Crouches on the BBC. It was a comedy about a family in London of Caribbean background. The lady who played Auntie Susu on Desmonds was in it. The first season was terrible, wasn’t funny at all. Apparently they had a white Scottish bredda write for it. The second season they saw sense and got a female Jamaican writer and it was fantastic. Sample line: one character says in regards to a friend who has had a lot of plastic surgery: ‘If she blink her eye her foot will kick up!’ Then they cancelled it! Unbelievable!
The UK is a desert when it comes to successful professional black people proud of being black – that are visible anyway. There seem to be plenty in the States but black professional people in the UK seem to like to stay anonymous and are anxious to ‘fit in.’ Only the butus like a high profile. Fitting in is OK as long as you don’t have to ignore a large part of your culture. And that’s what happens here. Black people here say and believe horrible things about themselves in order to fit in and they don’t appreciate people like me raising serious issues relating to race when they arise. They much prefer to laugh these things off and get on with life. It’s ugly. When white people make racist comments of judgements it is our duty to call them on it. If they are just ignorant, they can be educated; if they are evil then they can be at least publicly identified.
Black people should be able to be black as well as their nationality without compromise and still be able to ‘fit in’ with others and vice versa. It’s a pity – there’s a lot black people can offer the UK.