I just finished reading the digital edition of your newspaper. And, while I found most of it to be very informative, what’s caused me to write this letter is the op-ed piece regarding the show “Empire.”
On most occasions, I’ve refrained from reading commentary like this, but, having seen the show, and engaging in some discussions about it, I was intrigued. And then, disappointed.
While the author peppered the piece with nuggets worthy of further exploration, when you take it down to its lowest common denominator, all she’s said is, ‘My experience is contrary to your point of view, therefore, kick rocks.’
I suppose, as the commentary stated early on, everyone has an opinion.
However, my hope was that the piece would initiate a discussion around the real issue, which is that, when a black face appears on any screen, at least in this country; any person, any show, or any movie which has a black person in it is automatically assigned the responsibility of representing us as a whole.
Whenever a crime is announced on the news, we all want to know if the perpetrator was black, as if, somehow, their crime is our collective crime. From the perspective of a black woman, I’m sure the character of “Cookie” is a proud representation of some of us, just as much as Olivia Pope is, but, certainly, not all of us.
While I absolutely agree that we still have fallen short of having the breadth, and depth, of the black experience portrayed across both big and little screens, I think our time would be better spent discussing what action steps we can take to get there, rather than whether or not we approve of fictional characters.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to write a show about a generation of children who were never taught how to be respectful, or how to behave in public.
Click HERE to read the original editorial by Gloria Winston Al-Sarag