• Andrea Armstrong

The Representation Of Black Culture Through Entertainment

There has been a lot of buzz this week about the new version of Top Boy, especially because Drake has played a big part in bringing it back to our screens.

Back in 2011 when the original Top Boy aired, after watchimg it I remember feeling sad, angry and frustrated by the scenes and overall plot. I knew at the time why I felt this way and one of the main factors was the authenticity of what was being portraid on my TV set: The fact that for so many of our youth, these scenarios were in fact a true representation of the harsh realities for so many young Black people living in the U.K

There was, back then and still remains now, so many eliments that contribute to Black on black crime, personal hardship, disconnection to one another, drug use and distribution and self sabotage. Back in 2011 Top Boy was wonderfully recieved, critiqued and celabrated as a cutting edge drama with a stellar cast and production team and at the time I felt proud of the fact that the up and coming fresh talent was receiving positive exposure.

As a Black British Woman, I am always activlly supporting the accomplishments within our race and our infinate talents, especially as someone who loves the arts. However, over the years I have found myself shying away from anything that sheds a negative light on Black lives as a whole.

Now please don't get me wrong, I am under zero illusion that bad things have not been happening to us for centuries and therefore, over the generations there remains a deep rooted laceration within the hearts of each and every one of us whether we recognise it or not. Despite this, we have not been wiped out, instead we continue to grow, evolve and expand in a way that mainstream media would NEVER consistantly publicize. It's because of this that I feel going forward, Black people in the entertainment industry should be producing material that celebrates the buoyant side of our culture.

As a race we have been pigeon holed as only having value in the sports and entertainment arena while our Academics, Scholars, Pilots, Doctors, Child protoges (the list goes on and on) Are only given the vaguest of recongnition from the so called powers that be.

Fast forward Eight years after the original Top Boy. What are we looking at? Yes its more Polished, indeed it has great glossy marketing, but the narrative is still the same and personally I'm bored of it. I want to watch Movies and TV Dramas that reflects Black folk in a more positive light. Our youth need to be inspired and uplifted by what they watch and listen to, therefore its our responsibily to educate, monitor and share our experiences in a way that encourages them to turn away from violance and believe in themselves.

I would like to call on Movie Directors, Screen writers, Producers, Actors, actresses and musicians who believe in diversafying and throwing out the Sterotype to join forces world wide and start putting together content that lifts us up. It is NOT in our best interest to continue to hash out material that reinforces the oppressive version of who we are as a race.

With love and service.


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