- made unattractive in some way, and/or
- sidelined into becoming a bit character, and/or
- removed altogether from the show.
Y’all were told in a series of posts 3 YEARS AGO by One Less Soldier over at her excellent blog Not Your Girl Friday, including the post, The Dance Is Over and You Don’t Owe Them A Thing:BWiF 104:Sojourners know that the traditional opening strategy for many upstart, minimal-quality cable TV networks is to pimp the AA consumer zombies. These networks use cheap, low-quality Black-oriented programming to build an initial audience of faithful AA consumer zombies.After establishing a stable base audience of AA consumer zombie-viewers, the cable network uses the financial base created by AA slave viewers to develop more expensive programming designed to appeal to their true target audience: White viewers.
Once the new network develops a stable of programs favored by a sizeable audience of White viewers, the network then discards the AA consumer zombies and the Black-oriented shows used to attract AA consumer zombies. The network throws the slaves away like yesterday's trash. Two good examples of this strategy are the WB Television Network and UPN. From the Wikipedia entry about the WB Television Network (emphasis in bold):The network's first programs were mostly sitcoms targeted at an ethnically black audience, though several series during the network's first five years were also targeted at families.
Even though four of the five shows that debuted in the netlet's first nine months – The Wayans Bros., Unhappily Ever After,The Parent 'Hood and Sister, Sister (the latter of which was picked up by the network after being cancelled by ABC) – were renewed beyond the first year, none of them made a significant impact. The WB expanded its programming on Sunday nights for the 1995–1996 season, but none of the new shows (including the Kirk Cameron vehicle Kirk and night-time soap opera Savannah) managed to garner much viewing interest.
From the Wikipedia entry about UPN (emphasis in bold):Other notable UPN programs during the network's existence included The Sentinel, Moesha, Star Trek: Enterprise, WWE Smack Down, America's Next Top Model, Girlfriends, the Moesha spin-off The Parkers,Veronica Mars and Everybody Hates Chris. In the summer of 2005, UPN aired R U the Girl, in which R&B group TLC searched for a woman to join them on a new song. The network also produced some special programs, including 2001's Iron Chef USA. From 1996 to 2006, much of UPN's comedy programming for the remainder of the network's run (particularly those seen on the network's Monday evening lineup) was largely aimed at African-American audiences (with minor exceptions in shows such as Clueless, DiResta and Head Over Heels).Like I said, the Sojourners know better than to watch the type of mess that the typical AA consumer zombie is watching. But one lingering issue I’ve noticed even among the Sojourners is that many of us are still consuming too much media. At the end of the day, media consumption is a passive activity. It’s the inferior experience of watching somebody else play tennis as opposed to playing tennis yourself.The greater rewards in life come from spending less time in passive activities, and more time actively living life.
. . .This isn’t going to happen. The band has in fact finished their last set and the balloons are being deflated as we speak. When it was time to “carve up” who was going to get any good portrayal in the media( and we know who these went to See recent minority casting on Downtown Abbey and note what gender the black character will be ) groups other than ourselves. Black women were simply left off the ballot when it was time to vote for prom court.
But why are you telling me this onelesssoldier?
Well I’m telling you all of this so you can stop wasting your time holding out hope. I’m doing this so you can pack up and take your money/time/ resources/ portrayals elsewhere so you can stop being treated as the court jester of television while you support your own mass degradation. Basically I’ll be the designated driver that makes sure you’ll get home safely.
As the designated driver I will point out that there is largely no use in trying to appeal to these forums to try and get a slice of the pie for black women in the “mainstream” media. We’ve seen from my last post that the people who are in charge of black women’s portrayals are fully aware of what they are doing and in fact enjoy doing it.In the post Entertainment for the Progressively Neutral Black Woman : BWiF 105, One Less Soldier gave suggestions regarding alternative media products. Check it out.