I’m a little late to the party, but was so moved with this #FirstTimeISawMe campaign by Netflix that I feel inspired to share my thoughts. When I think back on representation in television and when I first saw images of myself, I was amazed at my reflections. Although I saw persons of color represented during the 70’s and 80’s, most remarkably for me were shows like “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons” and “The Cosby Show,” it wasn’t until the 90’s that I felt like I saw actual representatives of people I knew on TV.
I fell in love with the Charles Dutton led “ROC,” and I scheduled evening classes (i.e. I skipped out on the last hour of class every Thursday night!) around Fox’s old Thursday night lineup of “Martin” and “New York Undercover,” because it included “Living Single” – a series that featured four African-American women navigating life and friendship, to which I could certainly relate.
And after the template was laid in “Living Single” came one of my all-time favorite sitcoms “Girlfriends.” Ooh and the oh, so missed Showtime drama “Soul Food.” Those shows displayed reflections of, not only myself, but people around me. I could empathize with their struggles, because I knew, or knew of, them.
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay shares a similar thought about identifying with characters later in life here:
MMT Fam, do you remember the first time you saw yourself on-screen? Do you identify with any character on TV today?
We all know that seeing people who look like you and deal with similar life experiences is powerful, because you inevitably believe you can achieve anything once you’ve seen someone else do it first. Just listen to what MMT fave Marlon Wayans has to say about watching his older siblings:
So, shout out to Netflix for all of the shows added to its platform where people are seeing representations of themselves and beautiful representations of others as well. Personally, I’m loving shows like “Luke Cage” and “Daredevil” and enjoy adding movies and shows, where I’ve enjoyed seeing representation, in my queue – like “Mississippi Damned,” “Being Mary Jane,” and “Greenleaf.” Maybe Netflix will work on adding Soul Food the series, Girlfriends and Living Single? Just asking for a friend…lies, you know it’s for me!
And MMT Fam you can check out some of the past reviews of our Netflix Picks, and get some good recommendations for those queues by clicking here.
Until next thought family, Thomasena