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Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiencesby Beretta Smith-shomade
Synopses & Reviews
Television scholarship has substantially ignored programming aimed at Black audiences despite a few sweeping histories and critiques. In this volume, the first of its kind, contributors examine the televisual diversity, complexity, and cultural imperatives manifest in programming directed at a Black and marginalized audience.
Watching While Black considers its subject from an entirely new angle in an attempt to understand the lives, motivations, distinctions, kindred lines, and individuality of various Black groups and suggest what television might be like if such diversity permeated beyond specialized enclaves. It looks at the macro structures of ownership, producing, casting, and advertising that all inform production, and then delves into television programming crafted to appeal to black audiencesandmdash;historic and contemporary, domestic and worldwide.
Chapters rethink such historically significant programs as Roots and Black Journal, such seemingly innocuous programs as Fat Albert and broandrsquo;Town, and such contemporary and culturally complicated programs as Noahandrsquo;s Arc, Treme, and The Boondocks. The book makes a case for the centrality of these programs while always recognizing the racial dynamics that continue to shape Black representation on the small screen. and#160;Painting a decidedly introspective portrait across forty years of Black television, Watching While Black sheds much-needed light on under-examined demographics, broadens common audience considerations, and gives deference to the the preferences of audiences and producers of Black-targeted programming.
Watching While Black exclusively considers and critically engages programs that Black audiences watch and enjoy. With fresh perspectives, contributors both expose and introduce programming targeted at very specific and under-examined Black demographics. Cutting across forty years of Black television, the book looks at behind-the-scenes practices, significant historical texts, twenty-first century shows, and programs produced for Black audiences around the world.
Race and Retail documents the extent to which retail establishments, both past and present, have often catered to specific ethnic and racial groups. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the original essays collected here explore selling and buying practices of nonwhite populations around the world and the barriers that shape these habits, such as racial discrimination, food deserts, and gentrification.
The Blacker the Ink is the first collection to explore not only the diverse range of black characters in comics, but also the multitude of ways that black artists, writers, and publishers have made a mark on the industry. The bookandrsquo;s fifteen original essays take us on a journey that includes familiar milestones like Luke Cage and The Boondocks, while spanning everything from African American newspaper comics of the 1930s to Francophone graphic novels of the 2000s.and#160;
From The Real Housewives of Atlanta to Flavor of Love, reality shows with predominantly black casts have often been criticized for their negative representation of African American women as loud, angry, and violent. Real Sister brings together ten black female scholars from a variety of disciplines, in part to address legitimate concerns about how reality TV reinforces stereotypes, but also to inspire a more nuanced conversation about the genre’s representations and their effects on the black community.
When many think of comic books the first thing that comes to mind are caped crusaders and spandex-wearing super-heroes. Perhaps, inevitably, these images are of white men (and more rarely, women). It was not until the 1970s that African American superheroes such as Luke Cage, Blade, and others emerged. But as this exciting new collection reveals, these superhero comics are only one small component in a wealth of representations of black characters within comic strips, comic books, and graphic novels over the past century.and#160;
The Blacker the Ink is the first book to explore not only the diverse range of black characters in comics, but also the multitude of ways that black artists, writers, and publishers have made a mark on the industry. Organized thematically into andldquo;panelsandrdquo; in tribute to sequential art published in the funny pages of newspapers, the fifteen original essays take us on a journey that reaches from the African American newspaper comics of the 1930s to the Francophone graphic novels of the 2000s. Even as it demonstrates the wide spectrum of images of African Americans in comics and sequential art, the collection also identifies common character types and themes running through everything from the strip The Boondocks to the graphic novel Nat Turner.and#160;
Though it does not shy away from examining the legacy of racial stereotypes in comics and racial biases in the industry, The Blacker the Ink also offers inspiring stories of trailblazing African American artists and writers. Whether you are a diehard comic book fan or a casual reader of the funny pages, these essays will give you a new appreciation for how black characters and creators have brought a vibrant splash of color to the world of comics. and#160;
Race has long shaped shopping experiences for many Americans. Retail exchanges and establishments have made headlines as flashpoints for conflict not only between blacks and whites, but also between whites, Mexicans, Asian Americans, and a wide variety of other ethnic groups, who have at times found themselves unwelcome at white-owned businesses.and#160;
Race and Retail documents the extent to which retail establishments, both past and present, have often catered to specific ethnic and racial groups. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the original essays collected here explore selling and buying practices of nonwhite populations around the world and the barriers that shape these habits, such as racial discrimination, food deserts, and gentrification. The contributors highlight more contemporary issues by raising questions about how race informs business ownersandrsquo; ideas about consumer demand, resulting in substandard quality and higher prices for minorities than in predominantly white neighborhoods. and#160;In a wide-ranging exploration of the subject, they also address revitalization and gentrification in South Korean and Latino neighborhoods in California, Arab and Turkish coffeehouses and hookah lounges in South Paterson, New Jersey, and tourist capoeira consumption in Brazil. and#160;
Race and Retail illuminates the complex play of forces at work in racialized retail markets and the everyday impact of those forces on minority consumers. The essays demonstrate how past practice remains in force in subtle and not-so-subtle ways.
About the Author
BERETTA E. SMITH-SHOMADE is an associate professor and chair of the communication department at Tulane University. She is the author of Shaded Lives: African-American Women and Television (Rutgers University Press) and Pimpin Ainandrsquo;t Easy: Selling Black Entertainment Television.
Table of Contents
1. The Importance of Roots
2. Two Different Worlds
3. A Black Cast Doesnandrsquo;t Make a Black Show
4. Blacks in the Future
5. andldquo;Regular Television Put to Shame by Negro Productionandrdquo;
6. andldquo;HEY, HEY, HEY!andrdquo; Bill Cosbyandrsquo;s Fat Albert as Psychodynamic Postmodern Play
7. Gimme a Break! and the Limits of the Modern Mammy
8. Down in the Treme . . . Buck Jumping and Having Fun?
9. Keepinandrsquo; It Reality Television
10. Prioritized: The Hip Hop (Re)Construction of Black Womanhood in Girlfriends and The Game
11. Nigger, Coon, Boy, Punk, Homo, Faggot, Black Man
12. Graphic Blackness/Anime Noir
13. Resistance Televised
14. South African Soapies
15. Minority Television Trade as Cultural Journey
Notes on Contributors
What Our Readers Are Saying