Where Have All The Black & Brown Narratives Gone?
Boomerang, Love Jones, Love & Basketball, Brown Sugar, Tortilla Soup, Real Women Have Curves - where have all the black and brown narratives gone? Until recently, I’ve been dumbfounded as to why POC narratives seemed to be falling into the shadows. And then Trump. And then the racism, the division, and the talk of walls. And then…
I remember watching Eddie Murphy’s Boomerang when I was younger and loved the fact that every single person in the movie was black or brown. It didn’t feel weird or odd; it felt real. It wasn’t a movie about diversity or the plight of the black experience, but a movie simply about everyday life, a movie about love and friendship.
Somewhere along the line, outlets like BET and Telemundo were the only places where you could find black and brown narratives. Or you had to be in-the-know and go to some obscure arts cinema and watch a low-budget film for these stories to be told.
And then Rogue One happened. And then ABC’s Black-ish, Shonda-Land, FOX’s Jane The Virgin, Broadway’s Hamilton and Moonlight happened; all successful, profitable, encompassing and amazing stories that are told through the lens of POC.
When Tarell Alvin McCraney, a black actor and writer, took the stage to accept his Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for Moonlight, he tearfully declared, "This goes out to all those black and brown boys and girls and non-gender conforming, who don't see themselves. We're trying to show you you and us. So thank you, thank you. This is for you."
Yes! Never before has it been more important for our narratives to be told. Nothing will ever change if we don’t take charge and add to the American cannon. As actress Jessica Camacho told MBG last year, "We all have something to add to the greater conversation that's happening now. Everybody can contribute what they can to move things forward. If you're a business person - excel. If you're a journalist - delve. If you're an artist - create. Create you're own work. Create your own platform."
Moonlight was a low budget film, not backed by a major studio, which told the story of a gay black male and IT WON AN OSCAR for best film. A beat-boxing musical about an immigrant is Broadway's biggest hit and has revolutionized the modern musical. These are a huge leaps forward and I hope that this momentum continues and propels other content creators to create, share and thrive.
So whatever profession you are in, show up and be your best self. Add to the spectrum of the country. Add positivity. Add your story!