Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Deon Cole, Nicki Minaj, Regina Hall and Eve Join 'Barbershop 3' Cast Deon Cole, Nicki Minaj, Regina Hall and Eve Join 'Barbershop 3' Cast Taraji P Henson Thanks UK Fans for Illegally Streaming 'Empire' Which Led to Its Pickup + UK Reactions to the Show Taraji P Henson Thanks UK Fans for Illegally Streaming 'Empire' Which Led to Its Pickup + UK Reactions to the Show A New Film Studio Grows in Uganda - Wakaliwood A New Film Studio Grows in Uganda - Wakaliwood You Will Be Moved By the Atmospheric First Full Trailer for 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' You Will Be Moved By the Atmospheric First Full Trailer for 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Wendell Pierce Will Play Clarence Thomas Opposite Kerry Washington's Anita Hill in HBO's 'Confirmation,' Directed by Rick Famuyiwa Wendell Pierce Will Play Clarence Thomas Opposite Kerry Washington's Anita Hill in HBO's 'Confirmation,' Directed by Rick Famuyiwa Jordan Davis Documentary Gets New Title, New Poster 2 New Clips + Theatrical Release Dates Set Jordan Davis Documentary Gets New Title, New Poster 2 New Clips + Theatrical Release Dates Set Crowdfund This: Feature Film, 'The Last Black Man in San Francisco' Crowdfund This: Feature Film, 'The Last Black Man in San Francisco' Interview: Black Masculinity in Comic Books with Jonathan Gayles Interview: Black Masculinity in Comic Books with Jonathan Gayles Viola Davis Is Developing a Harriet Tubman Biopic for HBO (She Will Star & Produce) Viola Davis Is Developing a Harriet Tubman Biopic for HBO (She Will Star & Produce) Indie Box Office: How Did the Queen Latifah Exec Produced Indie Drama 'Brotherly Love' Do? Indie Box Office: How Did the Queen Latifah Exec Produced Indie Drama 'Brotherly Love' Do? Watch Queen Latifah & Mo'Nique "Preach the Blues" is 4 Clips from 'Bessie' Watch Queen Latifah & Mo'Nique "Preach the Blues" is 4 Clips from 'Bessie' Watch 'Deadpan' - an Early Short Work by Steve McQueen Inspired by Buster Keaton Watch 'Deadpan' - an Early Short Work by Steve McQueen Inspired by Buster Keaton Here Are the Cities & Theaters in Which Patrik-Ian Polk's Award-Winning Drama 'Blackbird' Opens Today Here Are the Cities & Theaters in Which Patrik-Ian Polk's Award-Winning Drama 'Blackbird' Opens Today 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) Barbie Is Honoring Ava DuVernay (and Other "Sheroes") With Her Very Own Doll. Have a Look... Barbie Is Honoring Ava DuVernay (and Other "Sheroes") With Her Very Own Doll. Have a Look... Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

More On The Black British Versus Black American Experience...

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act June 21, 2011 at 7:04AM

Maybe I'm only just now starting to pay attention to these matters... but, as an addendum to my post last week on the supposed talent drain, as black British actors migrate to the USA where better opportunities to work are believed to be in far more abundance, when compared to England... here's another article lamenting the state of the African in the UK - specifically, the lack of "an educated ethnic middle class... to counter the black 'street’ stereotype," which in turn affects the quality of content produced for black British audiences.
15

Maybe I'm only just now starting to pay attention to these matters... but, as an addendum to my post last week on the supposed talent drain, as black British actors migrate to the USA where better opportunities to work are believed to be in far more abundance, when compared to England... here's another article lamenting the state of the African in the UK - specifically, the lack of "an educated ethnic middle class... to counter the black 'street’ stereotype," which in turn affects the quality of content produced for black British audiences.

This one is from The Telegraph, and is written by Lindsay Johns, writer, broadcaster and self-proclaimed "hip-hop intellectual;" he's of African descent by the way (British/South African).

The article itself is quite damning! I'm not familiar with the man's work, but he pulls no punches here, and I'd really like to know what our UK-based readers have to say in reaction. Like the article I highlighted last week, this one also pits the African in the UK squarely with the African in the USA.

Here's a sample of the piece:


When it comes to film, Noel Clarke’s successful Kidulthood and Adulthood focused exclusively on the pathologies of the “You get me, blood?” ghetto underclass. Likewise, radio. When the new BBC radio station 1 Xtra was set up a few years ago, the thinly veiled rationale was to placate the black demographic with “urban” pirate radio-style “street” music. In short, give them what we think they want.

But hang on a minute. Where was the black Radio 4 equivalent? Don’t black people in this country want intelligent news, current affairs, drama and cultural programmes, too? Or are they only reserved for educated, middle-class white people?

On TV, black British protagonists – like Luther, the BBC detective played by Idris Elba – are a recent and rare phenomenon. How psychologically debilitating this must be for young black people, to be devoid of balanced, fair, let alone positive portrayals. Black America, with its educated, middle-class depth in numbers, is 30 years ahead of us. Think of The Cosby Show, a hugely successful middle-class family sitcom, whose patriarch was a black doctor. What do we get in the UK? The Crouches, whose father-figure worked on the London Underground.

So is middle-class black America the promised land for the educated black British? For all its many problems, America offers far more opportunities than Britain does right now. Hence the trans-Atlantic brain drain, which speeds up year after year: novelist Caryl Phillips and poet Fred D’Aguiar left for America years ago, as did actor Idris Elba. Playwright Kwame Kwei-Armah has just gone to be the artistic director at a theatre in Baltimore.

Over here, “black”, “working class” and “street” are still seen as synonymous terms.

You can read the entire article HERE.

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm..., oped


Shadow & ActNewsletter