Blacks on the Screen in 2016!

With 2016 coming to a close, I find it necessary to reflect on this progressive year in African-American entertainment. While this has been a trying year in regards to the important of black lives, it has also been a year to celebrate being unapologetically BLACK. In 2016, we’ve done everything from opening a museum celebrating our culture to making history in this year’s Olympics. Did I also mention that Solange dropped the blackest album of 2016? Despite the negativity in media, we have to celebrate our wins. Which is why I decided to write a piece on how our contributions on the small and big screen affect us as a race. Are you ready to feel empowered?



The hit television show “Blackish” is a perfect example of how important cultural references are to the African-American community! Blackish has touched on everything from the importance of the head nod to the importance of the black male’s hairline. Simply put, it feels good to see your culture being celebrated on a global scale. The cultural references may seem like they are only for comedic relief but the value is far greater. What’s labeled as comedic relief can also hold the value of self-esteem boost. We were not always granted the luxury of watching the television and being able to relate to the characters. If Anthony Anderson can be the star of a hit television show, why can’t we add your brother, son, cousin or uncle to that category?



The universal law of business is “Money makes the world go around,” and America is no exception. Since African-American films and television shows have been making a profit, the entertainment business has started to gravitate towards the culture. While this is problematic in plenty of instances, it also creates more opportunity. The addition of black screenwriters and directors will lead to the addition of black actors and actresses. Oscar may still be white, but film and television entertainment are getting blacker by the paycheck. Tyler Perry is a great example of writing your own films and opening doors for other black entertainers to be discovered. This year the big screen was filled with melanin from movies like “Almost Christmas” and “When The Bough Breaks.” The doors have been opened. In 2017, we will definitely see more melanin in Hollywood.



Entertainment is probably the best form of awareness for African-American issues within our community. It’s probably the only way to get through to some of our people. Did you ever discuss how black men are labeled for exploring their sexuality before watching “Insecure?” Have you discussed how other races will only use the “N” word around blacks they are comfortable with before watching “ATLANTA?” These are problems within our community that we rarely have an open dialogue about. Black television shows bring these issues to the forefront for us to discuss and share our opinions on. We need this open dialogue in 2017.



The last section may be the most important piece of the article. It’s no secret that our heritage was stripped away from us, so we must preserve our history. 2016 saw the emergence of films based on the lives of historical figures like Jesse Owens and Nat Turner. We even saw Usher play the legendary Sugar Ray Leonard in “Hands of Stone.” African-Americans need to know our history to pass it down to the next generation. Black history needs to be factored into black entertainment for the sake of the youth. We must use our gifts to pass the torch, which is why the release of “Hidden Figures” is a great way to start the new year. Based on that movie alone, I’m sure there will be enough #BlackGirlMagic & #BlackBoyJoy to go around in 2017.

Stay True. Stay Real. Stay Black. – Trenton | Instagram/Twitter: @TrentonxPratt

Trenton Pratt22 Posts

Trenton Pratt is an experienced media personality hailing from St. Louis, MO. His journey as a media personality started back in 2012 with the development of a weekly YouTube entertainment series titled "The Vision." The YouTube series garnered over 70k views in only one year. Trenton's natural connection with the viewers led to him becoming a staple host at several live events around his hometown while he took a step away from the YouTube scene. Finally, Trenton's gravitating personality and infectious smile will be stepping back in front of the camera and behind the keyboard. He's still the same person... Just A Better Brand!


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