Pictures courtesy of ABC
OK, so this is a loaded post. Obviously just from reading the title some of you are probably offended or cringing or doing a whole gaggle of different things reacting to “THE Word” as it is called on tonight’s season premiere of Black-ish (#Black-ish, #DeesNiggas). Personally, I always thought THE Word was Jesus or the Bible or some form of that, as Christians tend to say it is. But apparently the N-word is THE Word that everyone wants to discuss. Let me explain.
First, let me start by saying that I truly don’t like talking or writing (especially in my novels) about race. I have a few written stories and screenplays I haven’t released that focus on the topic. However, I find that for any minority or non-minority continuing to focus on race is what can impede the forward march of more creative writing. Maybe one of the reasons we don’t see as many non-white characters in or leading sci-fi or fantasy books, films and TV is because so few minority writers want to write that stuff (we all know the other reason is because they aren’t given a chance or quality or a million other things). With that said, I continue.
ABC’s Black-ish makes its season premiere tonight at 9:30. Now, there are tons of things going on tonight sense it is premiere week. Seeing as how the networks want to destroy each other, Fox’s Empire will also be returning a half hour earlier (#Empire). So, in order to draw in those ratings and really get “black twitter” talking as was mentioned in an Essence.com interview with Anderson and Barris (one of the show’s creators), they have decided to go for the most click-baity topic they can by addressing the use of the word nigga.
To be fair, this is a topic discussed in Black households, families and communities of both affluent blacks as well as less upwardly-mobile Blacks. But the problem I have with this is that it is a commonly discussed topic. Everybody wants to talk about niggas and whether it’s OK to say it. Even Empire (its competition for the night) had its own controversial dust-up last season when Terrence Howard came out and said that he believed the word should be used on the show to bring authenticity to it. In fear of repeating myself as my book DARKER (#DARKER) has an epic nigga-rant that tries to look at the use of the word from all sides, I don’t want to delve too far into what people should and shouldn’t do and whether they should say it or not.
Why, then, am I a little ticked by this? Mainly because of the way it was advertised. The advertisements were so blatant and in your face with how we should essentially be excited for the use of the word and the crazy and hilarious shenanigans that will follow, it almost felt like they were selling niggas at a market. “Hey, we’re gonna use the word nigga. Some of you out there, especially you niggas (you know who you are *wink *) better get ready to tune in and talk about it, because we’re doin’ it for you.” What?
Look, don’t get me wrong, Black-ish is a nice family show that has its funny moments. Admittedly, I don’t watch it on a regular basis. But what ticks me off is not just the feel of the advertisements that this is somehow edgy when this is literally the oldest conversation that Blacks have been having in this country, but I am a little ticked at how well the marketers thought it’d work. And you know what, they might actually be right. Man, if I just think to mention that my horror novel DARKER uses the N-word in one tightly compact little area in the novel—though it is based off of Stephen King’s Carrie—I’m sure millions of people will flock to Amazon to purchase it just to see how I spell it: er or a -ending.
To sum it up, I’m not necessarily mad at the show for tackling the common conversation, I’m more mad that it is used so flippantly as a ploy to draw in more viewers. But hey, if it works (and we all know how often niggas used to work) so be it.
Note to first time readers: I tend not to use nearly as much cursing or bad words in my posts as I find them generally unnecessary. However, there are curses throughout most of my books. Also, I rarely get this inflammatory about a subject, so just consider that when viewing other posts.
What do you all think? Is the use of the topic justified? Will you be too busy watching Empire or something else to care? Or will you watch and have no effect on you? Let me know what you think in the comments below. Hint: click where it reads “no comments” to comment. I will close the comments after a few weeks or if they get out of hand.
As always, check out my books on Amazon (if you’re looking for Halloween scares check #AFuriousWind, #DARKER, #BrandNewHome or #ThePowerOfTen). For those interested in something a little more dramatic, check out #TheWriter. The final episode of season one of The Writer is coming this Friday. All other 14 episodes are out now available exclusively on Amazon. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to my blog.
Until next time, “Fight the power. You gotta fight the power. Fight the Power. You gotta fight the powers that be!”
P.S. OK, admittedly those were lyrics from a Public Enemy song. No, they weren’t aimed at the producers of the show or any specific people. You’re reading too much into this. Just because I sound angry and look angry, doesn’t mean I am angry!Amazon
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