8 Reasons Your “Empire is Failing Black People” Article Is Failing Black People
Every week a new article pops up about how strong the ratings are for Fox’s show Empire. Personally, every week I skip over that because I don’t watch the show and don’t care. No offense to the show or anyone who watches it, it’s just not for me. I have a pretty solid catalog of shows I watch so when there’s a show I don’t care for, I just ignore it. I thought that was normal but then I realized there’s a whole segment of our society that collectively turn into temper tantrum having children when there's a show they don't like that's popular. So now, every week I have to see another article pop up or passed around about how Empire is bad for black people. Come on folks, it's not this serious. If you don't like the show, you don't like the show. Is there really a need to write a long ass think piece about the ramifications on the black community because of ONE TV show? Don't you think you're overreacting just a little bit?
Okay well then if you can't "beat'em join'em". If folks are going to get page hits off of poorly thought out, poorly written, pretentious as hell think pieces about Empire then I want in on the action. So here is my think piece on why these Empire think pieces ABSOLUTELY SUCK *Dwayne Johnson Voice*
First off when you write an Empire thinkpiece lecturing the people who watch the show why it's bad for the black community...you have to understand one simple thing first:
No One Cares
Nothing is more annoying than seeing folks take a show you watch for entertainment purposes and nitpick it to death like it’s an educational programming being shown to toddlers. Nobody watching Empire thinks it's Sesame Street. I don’t watch Empire but I know a lot of people who do. Most don’t even say it’s great writing or acting. But they say they love the entertainment. A lot of them enjoy the social and community aspect of it (watching it online with friends and talking about it) more than the actual show itself. It’s harmless. The only people who think otherwise are the people who don’t actually watch the show. I know I know. This isn't a good enough reason for you to stop being a pretentious uppity dick. Here's another reason...
No Really…No one Cares
No seriously, have you seen the numbers? No one cares about your over-analytical take on Empire. The folks who love this show are still going to watch it and those who don’t…won’t. At this point your continued complaints about the show are like an idiot who pisses into the wind. Unless you like giving yourself golden shower selfies, this is stupid and pointless. This reminds me of all the think pieces over-analyzing 50 Shades of Grey. I read some excerpts from the book. I was there when Ashley & Phenom reviewed it. All signs point to it being a really terrible book and movie. From what I gather it’s painfully obvious it’s Twilight Fan Fiction. But you know what? Good for the fans of it. If they like it, I can still say it’s terrible and not write a 700 word article about how 50 Shades of Grey is a set back for women’s rights. It’s not that serious. Instead of just saying “I think the writing is bad” or “I can’t stand the acting” or “I’m just not a Lee Daniels fan”…folks are going over the hills and through the wood’s to grandmother’s house just to say “I don’t like the show”. No one really cares why you don’t like the show. If you don’t like it, you can just not watch. I don’t like Scandal. I tried to watch it but I’m really just not a fan of anything Shonda Rhimes does (this goes back to Grey Anatomy which I thought was terrible). I don’t care if Liv is a “Presidential” sidepiece (Never mind the fact that its not fair to break this complex character down to just her negative but more on that later). I don’t like Rhimes’ work so I just don’t watch. I don’t write a think piece every week. I don’t log into Twitter every Thursday to shit on the show and people who watch it. I don't try to make myself feel self important by coming up with some ridiculous analogy for how Liv represents black women in today's society being used by the white man. I just find something else to watch. Truth is, I question anyone who wrote a think piece on Empire because just from the trailers & promos for the show I knew it wasn't for me. So I never watched a minute of it. I didn't watch the whole episode then run to my laptop to furiously type out the overly used "Perpetuating negative stereotypes" line that we've seen repeatedly used on anything uppity black folks don't like. Speaking of being repetitive...
Your Article is Unoriginal
Nothing is more uncreative, unimaginative, unoriginal than the "perpetuating negative stereotypes of black people" think piece. Any time I see an article with a headline about Empire implying it is bad for black people, I don’t even have to read any more. Because I’ve read this article before. We all have. I read it when it was called “Why Scandal is Bad for Black Women” also when it was called “Why [rapper’s name/song] is bad for Black People” also “Why the N-Word is bad for Black People”, etc etc etc. We get it. You shop at the same Think Piece Generator Outlet as Dr. Boyce Watkins and feel the need to “school” the rest of the community. Good for you but we've heard it all before. This is like going to the store to buy a new fly outfit that you think is going to be unique then showing up at the first day of school and realizing everyone else is wearing the same shit. All you’re doing is recycling the same talking points that the people before you have written. Worst part? You’re even more wrong than they are because at this point, your talking points have been thoroughly debunked yet you continue to write them. That’s not thoughtful it’s pathetic. Let me guess without reading your think piece it probably includes the following:
- Its a negative portrayal of black people (cause we aren’t allowed to be flawed)
- Why do they only show the same negative portrayals of black people (Ignoring all the other shows on TV with black folks in more positive roles)
- Think of the Children! (Cause parenting is hard and the remote is too far away)
- It backs up white people’s negative perceptions of black people (cause the problem is the fictional TV show and not… real life stereotyping an entire race)
- BONUS: The Gay Agenda!!! (Not everyone does this but I love the hate Empire gets cause of the gay characters. Pitch perfect homophobia)
Did I get them all? Every single one of these reads the same. And each one of them is dumber and dumber. So next time you go to write one, I just want you to stop, think about what you’re going to write, then bang your head into your keyboard until you pass out. It will save us all the trouble.
If the Cast Was All White You Wouldn’t Care
Where were your think pieces on Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, The Sopranos, etc for “perpetuating violence, drug using/dealing and other negative behaviors?” Oh that’s right you were too busy sucking Walter White’s dick, fawning over Jax Teller and writing angry letters about how you felt disappointed in the Sopranos ending to care. See for some reason you could watch those shows and take them for what they were: plain entertainment. But when it comes to Empire the entire perception of the black community hangs in the balance. We all know that Empire is pretty much Dynasty for black people. Why is this a bad thing? I mean I get it if you’re not interested in watching that (I know I'm not) but who cares if others are? I know what you’re going to say “But Kriss, this is more about the lack of diversity and that we only get shows that display the negative images of black folks.” Yeah but…that’s not true. Cause...
You Don't Really Care About Diversity
If you really cared about diversity you would realize network TV has become more diverse than ever. If you don't like the way black people look on Empire fine, watch Blackish instead. Problem solved. No I’m serious. Empire and Blackish air at the same time. You can literally watch Blackish instead. Of course that means you have to remove the giant sick from your ass and stop hate watching Empire in order to write your shitty click bait “Empire is Bad for Black People" articles but...I think that's a good sacrifice. I don't watch Empire but yet I still get to see plenty of black folks on TV. I get black fatherhood moments with Jesse L. Martin’s Detective Joe West on The Flash. We also an entire black family on Blackish. Despite their flawed characters, we have two black women in How to Get Away With Murder and Scandal that give us different looks. If that's not enough for you we also have the character of Abbie Mills(Nicole Beharie) on Sleepy Hollow. Oh and there’s Gotham where Jada Pinkett-Smith as Fish Mooney has been so great I’m counting down the days for DC to add her character to the comic book universe (something they did with Diggle from Arrow...another black character). I almost forgot the black ninja warrior princess Michonne on The Walking Dead. With all these different looks from different types of black characters can you tell me again why you're so intent on bitching about Empire every week? Even when folks claim the 90’s had more representation on TV, I challenge that. We got a bunch of sitcoms with black people. That’s not really diversity, its just one type of show: Comedy. Now we have Comedy, Drama, Thriller, SciFi…there's actually MORE diversity now because there’s now more than one type of black person on my TV. I actually have options as to what I want to watch. And we’ll be getting more. Mike Epps is going to be in an Uncle Buck series adaption for ABC. In the next year or two we’ll be getting 13 hours of Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix. Idris Elba recently posted a picture of himself on the set of filming a two-part Luther special. And this is just scratching the surface. If you really care about diversity then all you have to do is open your eyes to see it. No it’s not perfect or where it should be, but there’s clearly a shift. Empire is only 1 show out of many. You can’t claim there’s a lack of diversity by refusing to diversify what you watch.
Respectability Politics is Really Pretentious Asshole Politics
Remember when Don Lemon decided that Bill O’Reilly didn’t go “far enough” in telling the black community what it needed to do to get respect? Don then listed out 5 things the black community need to do to in order to “combat racism”:
- pull up our pants
- stop saying the n-word
- stop littering
- finish school
- just cause you can have a baby doesn’t mean you should
That’s what Don said we needed to do to combat racism. Notice in this list there’s nothing that says “Racists should stop being racist”. And that’s where respectability politics falls into you just being a pretentious asshole. No, I don’t like seeing folks walk around with their underwear showing and their pants hanging down past their knees. However, if someone is dressed like that do they deserve to be treated poorly? No. Do I deserve to be a victim of racism because I say “nigga”? No. Can I still suffer from racism and discrimination if I wear a suit and speak perfect English? You betcha. See, all these things are just a wish list of things some black people don’t like to see. That’s it. But instead of saying that this is their preference and opinion they try to tie it to some larger issue like “racism” or in the case of Empire (or Scandal or Rap Music, etc) “perpetuating the stereotype”. Newsflash folks: Black people helped build this country with blood, sweat and tears all while singing Negro spirituals and we were STILL stereotyped as lazy and unintelligent. We were STILL victims of racism and discrimination and violence. Even when we're at the top of our game we STILL can't get respect. Fox News has turned disrespecting President Barack Obama into a national pastime. The PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES. It doesn't get more "respectable" than that. Yet the racism/stereotyping/discrimination STILL occur. Music, TV and other forms of entertainment are not what cause others to not respect us. It’s their own hatred and ignorance. Period. Full stop. That moment of cleverness you thought you were feeling when you were writing that pretentious respectability bullshit wasn't cleverness, it was your colon telling you that you were so full of shit you need to take a laxative. I’m tired of being lectured by other black people about what I’m not allowed to do because it makes the “community look bad”. I own my own house. I make 6 figures. I have a 401K. I’ve never sold drugs or been to jail. Yet I still say “nigga” and listen to rap music and watch stereotyped black people on TV sometimes (Weird, I know...I can be successful and still do these other things. Amazing). Oddly enough, the world hasn’t ended for me because of these things. Also my good job, clean record and lack of drug usage hasn’t meant I’ve been exempt from racism. Why? Because racism, discrimination and stereotyping ironically doesn’t care about any of that. It is unbiased in its bias. All that matters is my skin color. I should also point out that everyone who subscribes to respectability politics should be aware of the fact that...
Your Hypocrisy is Glaring
“I don’t watch this show because I don’t support negative images of the black community”. Good for you Mother fucking Teresa. I’m going to assume your iPod/iPhone is filled with nothing but the finest of Gospel music, you wear nothing but your Sunday best no matter where you go and what you're doing and you spend your every free moment after work reading Bible stories to the kids in the cancer wing of your local hospital. I'm so glad you can be perfect like Ned goddamn Flanders. The rest of us however, are going to continue to enjoy living life and consuming ENTERTAINMENT as it was meant to be: As a way of escaping reality. You sound like my parents who claimed my music growing up wasn't "music" because it talked about violence and sex while ignoring how much of their own music did the same. A lot of the assholes dislocating their shoulders to pat themselves on the back for not watching Empire while writing articles chastising those same people will then turn around and claim The Wire is one of the greatest shows ever. How does THAT work? And if not The Wire I guarantee there's some show out there that has "negative portrayals of black people" that they watch(ed). It's like when the Divine 9 organized a boycott of Sorority Sisters while many of them enjoyed watching shows like Love and Hip Hop or Real House Wives. No matter what lies and excuses you come up with, all these shows are the same. You can't spew this ridiculous moral high ground logic while being able to sideline that same logic for another show you actually like. This all comes down to certain segments of the black community wanting to feel morally superior than others so they declare themselves King or Queen of morality when it comes to entertainment. Oh it's fine when they are "ratchet" or watch something that is but its only when they've deemed it OK and approved it. The bottom line is you don’t like Empire and instead of just moving on you’re trying to shame other people into not watching it. Problem is, it’s not working and you’re just looking like an idiot.
But don’t fret. The comment section of these idiotic Empire is Bad for the Community think pieces are a support group for all you pretentious assholes. There you can find other hater ass haters stewing that they aren’t with the “in” crowd who likes the show. You're also joining the ranks of people who think violent video games and movies are the cause of violence as well as those who think rap music is the cause of drug dealing and other bad things. Congrats...you're surrounded by morons.
You're Perpetuating the Myths More Than the Show
We all know the line: "Black folks have to work twice as hard and be perfect just to be recognized by their peers". It's one of the most frustrating things about being black. So why on earth are people who write these articles doing the same thing? As I said before, I don't watch Scandal. However I have no problem with the character of Liv. I'm just not a Shona Rhimes fan. That's it. There's no deeper meaning to it. I just don't like it. The end. So many people complain about Scandal because Liv is a "side piece” which is unfair because all it really does is reduce a flawed yet gifted and powerful black female character to only her negative traits. That's absurd. It comes from the same ridiculous place as the "he was no angel" line when talking about Michael Brown. Basically all you see is the negatives of a black character because we're not allowed to be flawed or complex. You've completely bought into the thinking that if a black person has even one negative trait that trait defines them. Sorry but that's far more dangerous thinking than anything being shown on Empire because unlike Empire, you're real. The people on Empire are acting and playing a role. It's make believe. You on the other hand actually believe the bovine fecal matter you furiously typed into your article. I’d also like to point out that you seem more intent on chastising black people for doing something wrong as if you’re not a part of the community. As if you are somehow better than the black people who watch Empire and while I don’t watch the show, it really doesn’t sit well with me. Because I know you’re no better than anyone else. You’re just that asshole who listens to rap music when no one is around or has “ratchet fun” with your friends when you think no one is looking but then turns around, climbs up on their moral soap box to look down on the folks you think you’re better than. Truth is, you’re pathetic and sad and your arguments and writings aren’t even clever. As a mentioned before you can't even be original in your critique. Hell, at least Empire is entertaining. In the article I read that caused me to write this I saw this particular quote that really made my asshole itch:
[quote]While Black people are out on the streets screaming that Black lives matter, many still seem oblivious to how the Black IMAGES we see and support every day in media can affect how we’re treated by and in society.[/quote]
Again, I have to ask, what images of black folks did white folks see to make them treat us as property for hundreds of years? When we were marching for equal rights in the 60's, what "BLACK IMAGES" did they see that make them think we weren't worth being treated as human beings? I'm also offended that people to this day STILL don't understand the Black Lives Matter movement. That movement is about making sure people understand that the lives of black people matter no matter what. A black victim of police violence shouldn't have to be perfect in order to get sympathy and justice. And this is why these think pieces trying to chastise other black folks for what they watch are so terrible and actually harmful (unlike whatever piece of entertainment they're being written about). All they're doing is putting the blame of racism and discrimination on the black community. If these were written by white people, I'd say this was victim blaming but since they're using written by and liked/approved by other black people I'm realizing this is more Battered Wives or Stockholm Syndrome than anything else. Folks have become so beaten down by racism and discrimination we're now starting to sympathize with our abusers/captors. Racist white people can't help but treat us wrong because [Insert rap music/Empire/N-word/the way we dress] make us look bad. Instead of demanding that racist white people just stop being ignorant we have to adjust to them and try to be on our best behavior even though we know that could still lead to us being lumped in as a thug. This is ridiculous and I'm tired of seeing it. Being a respectable negro never saved anyone from being a victim of racism. So we might as well live our lives free and as we see fit and stop worrying about what some other ignorant assholes think of us. If you only want to support "positive black images" (a subjective term by the way), fine. I'm going to support whatever form of entertainment I see fit. End of the day, we're both gonna still be called a 'nigger' by those who hate black folks. At least I get to enjoy life versus tap dancing for Massa hoping he tells me I'm a "good boy" one day.
Now if you excuse me I'm going to go find some ignorant ass rap music to listen to as I work my 6 figure job. Later I might play some Grand Theft Auto 5 as Franklin just because. Gotta do my part to "set the black community back".