Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Focus Features Picks Up Ruth Negga/Joel Edgerton 'Loving' Story (Based on Anti-Miscegenation Case) Focus Features Picks Up Ruth Negga/Joel Edgerton 'Loving' Story (Based on Anti-Miscegenation Case) HBO Drops First Trailer for 'Confirmation' HBO Drops First Trailer for 'Confirmation' Watch First Trailer for 'Roots' Reboot Watch First Trailer for 'Roots' Reboot Watch: Sri Lankans of African Descent Fight to Keep Their Culture Alive in 'Kaffir Culture' Watch: Sri Lankans of African Descent Fight to Keep Their Culture Alive in 'Kaffir Culture' Taraji P. Henson Will Topline Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race Taraji P. Henson Will Topline Film Based on Story of Black Women Mathematicians Who Worked for NASA During the Space Race Watch Double Academy Award-Nominated 1948 Docu-Drama 'The Quiet One' (Emotionally-Scarred Black Boy Rehabilitated) Watch Double Academy Award-Nominated 1948 Docu-Drama 'The Quiet One' (Emotionally-Scarred Black Boy Rehabilitated) Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Enter The New Normal Writing Contest From Issa Rae's ColorCreative & Project Greenlight Digital Studios Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Missed It Last Night? Watch 'A Ballerina’s Tale' in Full Now Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Ava DuVernay Wanted for Two (2!) Major Sci-Fi/Fantasy Studio Projects (UPDATE: Lupita Nyong'o May Star in One of Them) Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Tonight: Nelson George's Misty Copeland Doc - 'A Ballerina’s Tale' - Premieres on INDEPENDENT LENS Now Streaming on Netflix: Award-Winning 'Sand Dollars' (Dominican Republic's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Entry) Now Streaming on Netflix: Award-Winning 'Sand Dollars' (Dominican Republic's Best Foreign Language Film Oscar Entry) James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral James Franco Will Direct Film Based on Aziah "Zola" Wells' 148-Tweet Narrative That Went Viral Madonna's 'Blonde Ambition' Dancers Tell Their Own Stories in New Documentary 'Strike a Pose' Madonna's 'Blonde Ambition' Dancers Tell Their Own Stories in New Documentary 'Strike a Pose' Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit Watch Episode 1 of PBS' New Civil War-Set Drama Series 'Mercy Street' + On-Set Visit LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' LeToya Luckett, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Andra Fuller Star in New TV One Comedy Series 'Here We Go Again' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' TV One Aims to Change the Reality Genre with New Series, 'The Next 15' Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton Is Heading to TV Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? 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