The LA Times and other critics are predicting a dramatic reversal of the #OscarsSoWhite trend that’s plagued the Academy the past few years.
The next trend in mainstream media appears to be American Blackness, with Black TV shows (“Atlanta,” “Insecure,” “Queen Sugar”), comedies (“Ride Along 2,” “Central Intelligence”), and dramas (“Fences,” “Moonlight,”) receiving some of the loudest acclaim from critics and fans on social media. Many Black productions also appear to return a better bang for their investors’ buck as well.
Some think the Academy will have no choice but to honor the many iterations of Black genius currently floating through the cloud, and they may be correct this season. But don’t be fooled by the influx of color on your screens. America goes through phases with its obsession with Blackness. And the coming Black reign is only a part of our popular culture’s regular feeding cycle.
Hollywood is burning as we tweet. As is America. With them will go the media and political structures that have defined the States’ on the world stage for the past decade.
Donald Trump and his Great White America’s coup of the political system wasn’t the only major shift America experienced this year. The current rush of great Black content on our screens is the result of a media coup that could hold just as much power over America’s future as our Supreme Court justices.
Media is a unique tool that shouldn’t be dismissed as a source of immense power and influence. Money and violence have defined many of history’s wars, but what were many of those wars fought over? Ideas and stories. There is a very good reason they didn’t allow slaves to read. And why the our religious texts outlive every empire known to man.
Media is a means of changing consciousness. It can end wars and create new forms of currency. The culture wars Bill O’Reilly and Fox News stoked planted the seeds for Trump’s America to bloom. But the scariest thing about media’s power is that it doesn’t have to be tied to reality.
Donald Trump used decades’ old media tricks to slither past institutional barriers that were created to prevent the rise to power of anyone like him. That’s why the current flood of Black shows should give some optimism. Our votes aren’t worth much but we can reprogram America and the rest of the world with the right programing.
With the economy being held hostage in Asia and the wall of our military state constantly being threatened by interior and exterior forces, the American media is one of the strongest weapons in America’s arsenal. And Black America has seized literal and symbolic control of the airwaves on almost every platform. With Jay’s streaming service and Puff and Oprah’s TV networks all helping define the future of American media, don’t think for a second we are completely powerless over the next four years.