All Articles Tagged "television"

What’s With Black Men and Their Love Of “Seinfeld”?

May 16th, 2016 - By Veronica Wells
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In the 90’s, my house was often filled with the plunky, poppy sounds of the “Seinfeld” theme. My dad loved that show. And I loved spending time with my dad, so I’d often be in the room as he watched it. And while my father would be in stitches, hollering at the antics of George Constanza, I would be wondering what the hell I missed.

To be fair, I did find some of the jokes chuckle or smile worthy. Everyone has to react when you see Kramer slide into Jerry’s apartment. Still, I just assumed that they were tapping into some kind of elusive, adult humor I wouldn’t understand until I was much older. I mean there were plenty of shows my dad watched that I just couldn’t get with. “Sanford and Son,” “All in the Family,” “Cheers,” “Frasier.” None of them moved me. No doubt, “Seinfeld” was just one of many.

But as I got older, and watched those same shows with my new, “adult” experiences, I realized some of them were actually hilarious. I could do without “Sanford and Son” but “All in the Family” is absolutely brilliant. And today, “Frasier” makes me laugh until I cry. Literally. My sister and I actually had to call my father and thank him for putting us on to this greatness. I love “Frasier” so much that I cried watching the series finale from 2004. Not just because the last episode tugged at all of my heart strings but also because I was sad my sister and I wouldn’t be able to watch it on Netflix anymore.

Having developed such a fondness for “Frasier,” I assumed that perhaps I had misjudged “Seinfeld” as well. So when my boyfriend asked to watch it, I begrudgingly agreed. Watching the show, I was able to understand the scenarios a little bit better and even what might have made them funny to someone else. But still, all I could manage was a chuckle or a limp smile, no teeth. It just didn’t speak to me.

That wasn’t the last time my boyfriend and I watched the show. And while it’s far from boring, I just can’t understand why it had such a cult following. And especially why my father, a forty-something (at the time) Black man living in the Midwest, would find it so relatable and humorous. What did he have in common with the twenty-something Jewish man living in New York City? Furthermore, why did my boyfriend, who was born in South Africa, and raised partially in California, still Black, find it so funny?

I’ve been so plagued by this question that one day, on my way out of my office, I asked a room full of my coworkers, “Do y’all notice that Black men have a thing for “Seinfeld”?” As soon as the question left my mouth, I thought perhaps it wasn’t such a common occurence. Surely, it was just my father and boyfriend who shared this strange obsession. But my first mind was right. One coworker talked about her ex boyfriend’s love for the show. She, like me, didn’t exactly get it either. Then my other coworker talked about how her Guyanese cousin would watch the show while on the phone with his Trinidadian friend, cackling at the jokes.

The love of “Seinfeld” covered the diaspora.

I mean, we can’t forget about rapper Wale, born in D.C., with his Nigerian roots. He had an entire mixtape that paid homage to the show, The Mixtape About Nothing. And the love affair with the actual Jerry Seinfeld grew from there.

What is it?!

Finally, my coworker and friend said that she, a Black woman, thought the show was quite funny too. She explained that the show’s appeal was that these White people were being portrayed differently. So, often we see White people portrayed in the media as rich, together and morally sound. But the characters on “Seinfeld” were anything but that. They weren’t rich, they were all over the place, and often quite shady in the way they handled conflict and even each other as friends. That’s what was so different about the show. That’s what was so groundbreaking about it. I get it…but I still don’t get it.

Are my coworkers and I the only one confused by the hype?

Have you noticed that Black men have an affinity for “Seinfeld”?

TV Shows Your Man Can’t Stand

January 12th, 2016 - By M A
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Whether we’d like to admit it or not, the guys in our lives put up with a lot from us and will do a lot to make us happy. But the line certainly gets drawn when it comes to some of our favorite TV shows. They loves us, but just not that much when it comes to these series we love, but they loathe.

LGBT Characters On TV: Still Not Part Of A “Gay” Agenda

December 7th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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Annalise Keating, How to Get Away with Murder, ABC

How to Get Away with Murder/ABC

I hate to break it to you – those of you who squirm, balk or shake your head in disgust when two members of the same sex share a steamy love scene on screen. But the wider visibility of LGBT characters of color on shows like Empire, How To Get Away With Murder, Jane The Virgin, Rosewood, etc., is not, has never been and never will be an agenda or ploy to make everyone a certain way or promote a “homosexual lifestyle,” whatever that is.  Seeing these characters on television, and prime time at that is an opportunity to normalize what is already normal to a community that has long been marginalized.  To tell their stories in a humane, non-stereotypical manner.  To encourage understanding, shine a light on and bring an end to discrimination against LGBT persons.

Behind all the hateful rhetoric and discrimination embedded in this ridiculous homosexual agenda debate lies a belief that LGBT persons are living in sin (while the rest of us are swimming in…sainthood?). That’s a whole other can of worms that I won’t fully open, but as far as the subject at hand is concerned, the following is for parents in particular: You determine and monitor what your children watch on television.

Depending on their age, they’re probably not watching the on-again-off-again relationship between Annalise Keating and her female lover on How To Get Away With Murder, but regardless, the presence of gay characters on TV will not negatively influence or corrupt your children.  Much like the diversity issue that plagues the entertainment world both onscreen and behind the scenes, LGBT characters speak to that.  They reflect a more accurate picture of the people that make up this country of ours. The families that consist of two fathers, two mothers, a transgender parent, and so on and so forth.  These are people with lives and families and dreams that probably match many of your own.  They are not to be feared and if their presence onscreen makes you uncomfortable, good.  Get used to it. Gay is not the new Black and unlike Hollywood trends, this normalizing won’t go out of style.

Openly LGBT characters can help to erase the stigma that still exists, especially when it comes to the transgender community whose spokesperson now seems to be Caitlyn Jenner.  But my guess is she doesn’t speak to a large portion of the trans community for numerous reasons, namely her tax bracket and adherence to traditional Republican values.  LGBT characters on TV can help us better understand sexual fluidity, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

If you’ve been keeping up with Empire, you’ll know that Jamal, an openly gay character, recently kissed a girl.  And, by golly, he liked it. The kiss was both an entertaining and teachable moment.  Jamal has identified as gay since the show’s inception.  Maybe he now considers himself bi.  Whatever the case may be, the kiss opened up a dialogue that can offer a better understanding of issues that clearly aren’t just black or white.  Characters and scenes like this can also clear up the misunderstanding that shows like Empire or Scandal aren’t just showing sex on screen, but “gay” sex, which is unfairly deemed as salacious.  Or lesbian sex.  Or transgender sex.  News flash: sex is sex and people, regardless of how they identify, have it.  And if there’s no designator for “straight” sex, we should toss the labels that attempt to further discriminate LGBT persons because of who they choose to lay with at night.

But even though great strides have been made for LGBT characters on television this year, some for the first time and others continuing the success of a show’s previous seasons, the dominant LGBT perspective on television has been mostly White and male.  That’s why it has been an especially great year for the previously mentioned shows that allow men and women of color to see their likeness reflected on screen.  There’s power in that visibility. Power that can spark personal awakening, progress, and more great television.  The possibilities are truly endless.  And once we fully engage in them, perhaps there will no longer be a need for pioneers like Shonda Rhimes to receive awards for showing people loving and living onscreen, people who happen to be lesbian, gay, bi or transgender.  But until that time comes, know that the characters and the shows you see on TV are not part of an agenda to promote an LGBT lifestyle, but to offer representation.

Keep It Trill Part II: 15 Black TV Dads Who Played No Games

June 19th, 2015 - By Desiree Bowie
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Daddy Pope

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Parenthood is not all sunshine and lollipops. Sometimes, you have to come correct and keep it trill with the kids. Good cop, bad cop. As Father’s Day approaches, we take a look at Black TV dads who did not mess around and faithfully kept it 100 with their offspring. And in case you missed the trill TV moms edition we did for Mother’s Day, you can check it out here.

15 Child Stars Who Made It And Are Killing It In Hollywood

June 12th, 2015 - By Desiree Bowie
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michael b. jordan talks faith

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We’ve all seen the stories about child stars gone wild. From Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges to Miley Cyrus and Amanda Bynes, making the transition from child star to an adult actor (or musician) can sometimes be rocky and filled with drama. Still, it is possible to make it out unscathed. Let’s look at 15 child stars who successfully transitioned and thrived!

RHOA Rewind: ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s’ Most Cringe Worthy Moments

May 4th, 2015 - By Rich
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Photo Credit: BravoTV

There has been no shortage of drama on this season of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. From Apollo’s prison sentence to Kandi and Todd’s never ending issues with Mama Joyce, the Bravo reality show has done more than deliver. But last night’s episode was filled with so many awkward moments and namedropping (ahem, Roger Bobb), we almost lost count. Almost. Hit the flip to see the most cringe worthy scenes from the latest RHOA and get a sneak peek at some of the turmoil taking place next week.

RHOA Rewind: ‘The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s’ Most Cringe Worthy Moments

Kill ‘Em With Laughter: 15 Black Comedians To Watch In 2015

May 1st, 2015 - By Desiree Bowie
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Nicole Byer

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In 2015, there will be more new TV shows, movies, comedy tours, and Youtube channels featuring Black comedians than ever before. Let’s take a look at the 15 black comedians to watch out for this year.

15 Black Women Making Big Moves In Hollywood In 2015

April 29th, 2015 - By Desiree Bowie
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Brandy Snags Lead Role In "Chicago" On Broadway

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There is no denying that 2015 has started off with a bang for Black women in Hollywood. We are finally seeing sistas dominating on screen, behind the scenes, and in the boardroom. Let’s celebrate Black Excellence as we take a look at 15 women who are doing it big in Hollywood right now.

Somebody Call VH1! Stars Who Need Their Own Reality Show

April 23rd, 2015 - By Desiree Bowie
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Solange Wedding 15 Celebs That Need Reality Shows

Image Source: NY Post

 

Who doesn’t love this beautiful image of the Knowles and their extended family and friends? The only thing better would be an hour-long reality show that followed Queen Bey, her sis, and her fabulous family as they possibly argued over photos, wedding food, and nearly missed a meltdown when Solange’s “Just Married” bicycle caught a flat on the way to the reception.

While we may never get an uncensored look into the lives of some of our favorite celebs, it doesn’t mean we can’t do a fantasy draft of the top 15 celebs who we think need reality shows. Get on it, VH1!

Did You Know Televisions Can Listen To Your Conversation?

February 17th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Most of us jokingly say “Big Brother is watching” when we talk about the government and technology corporations monitoring people. However The Takeaway reports, your new smart TV may actually be doing just that. New televisions are equipped with a microphone that it is used for voice recognition (a similar function to the iPhone’s Siri). The use for voice recognition helps consumers navigate televisions without using a hand-held remote. A half century of  progress for the television has The Takeaway drawing correlations between these technological advancements to 1984 and Animal Farm, George Orwell’s predictions that people would start to give up their privacy, unsuspectingly. For example, the media outlet noted Samsung’s policies state:

“Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of Voice Recognition.”

If a person tries to alter the microphone settings on their televisions, they may face felony charges due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. This law prevents people from tampering with copyrighted pieces of technology devices.

Michael Price who serves as counsel in the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYC School of Law says in order for people to opt out of being monitored is by turning off the internet and disconnecting the television. Consumers won’t be able to have their privacy and enjoy the nifty updates to their favorite devices because corporations collect data from each consumer to “cater” to their likes and for advertisers to specify the needs of the companies who hire them.

“It’s really easy to turn the internet off. You can disconnect the TV in that way,” he says. “But it presents a really unfair trade off: You get to either use all these really nifty new pieces of technology that you bought and paid for, or you can have your privacy. But right now, it doesn’t seem like we can have it both ways. That’s what has to change.”

To understand other ways how your television may be collecting data from you, listen below.