Sunday, March 30, 2008
Support the Africa Channel by Akindele Akinyemi
I have been watching a channel on Comcast called the Africa Channel. I love this station because it shows Africa in a different light. It shows good and bad sides of Africa from a balanced point of view.
As a Nigerian-American who is used to seeing Blacks in a negative light here it is refreshing to see the Africa Channel. I mean, Jesus, how many times do one have to see negative shows like Good Times. Now Good Times was created by Norman Lear and is a spinoff from Maude (remember Bea Arthur)? Norman Lear's goal was to project the fool of the show as the star (Jimmie Walker who is now a Libertarian Republican but I still do not embrace him as a Republican) but killed off the strong Black male of the show (John Amos). Lear is also responsible for the creation of All in the Family (exposing racism in Queens, NY with Archie Bunker) and the Jeffersons (a Black family moving on up to the East Side of Manhattan). Lear is the founder for People for the American Way, a liberal think tank designed of pushing damaging policies through the media.
Diff'rent Strokes was about two Black children (Gary Coleman and Todd Bridges) raised by a White millionaire because their mother died. Gimmie A Break was about a full figured Black housekeeper (the late Nell Carter) taking care of three White teens while their father went to go work for the police. Benson (played by Robert Guillaume) depicted a butler for a White Governor (James Noble). The Flip Wilson Show depicted a Black man as Geraldine Jones. Martin (played by Martin Lawrence) did Jerome the pimp and Sheneneh. Sanford and Son depicted the late Redd Foxx as a junkman.
There are so many negative images of Blacks in the media (as well as positive images) that we need an alternative. BET has failed Black America and I am still disgusted at the fact that Blacks did not invest in the Black Family Channel. What images do we show our children and families other than running a credit card up someone ass in a rap video? Other than College Hill and Hell Date what do we show our children? The NAACP can protest against the negative images of Blacks but how come they do not support, invest and embrace the Africa Channel?
I support the Africa Channel because it is a alternative form of communication for those in the African Diaspora. The acting on Generations (a soap opera from South Africa that will blow out most of these superficial soaps people watch here in the United States) is awesome. Africa Journal shows us what is going on in Africa from a news point of view.
How does the Africa Channel tie in with investing in Africa and urban conservatism? For one, the network itself is family friendly. When you watch the videos on Africa Music you will not see thongs and breasts all over the place. You will see people actually having a good time. You will not hear Black men calling their women bitches, skeezers, pigeons, dykes, hoes, tricks and sluts. So why do we have to embrace this type of crap in our communities over in America?
Urban conservatives must invest in the Africa Channel to push our message of connecting with those in Africa by showing that we have interest in promoting family-centered entertainment and education on their network. Detroit, under urban conservative leadership, can be showcased all across the continent in a positive light because the next mayor and the new 9 members of the Detroit City Council will begin to push for a more free market Detroit and creating true relationships with Africa. This includes creating more theme based charter schools that connect academically with places like Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. They only way we began to do this is pushing for more conservative reforms in education to make us congruent with the rest of the world.
One of the key investors in the Africa Channel is Houston Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo. The other investor is Theo Ratliff of the Detroit Pistons.
We should continue supporting such an important network to connect us to Africa.