Sunday, September 24, 2023

Where’s the rest of it? Stories about black life in the inner-city.

May 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Education, Ent., News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( “Where’s the rest of it?” is a line of dialogue from my web-series I thought would work as a title for this blog because I am asking Hollywood the same question about the stories it produces about inner-city black youth.

My web-series, the Miseducation of a First Generation College Student, is a dramedy that navigates the struggles of an inner-city first generation college student through the fictional character Lavor, but is a semi-autobiographical retelling of my experience(s) in undergrad. I attended the historically black college Delaware State University in Dover where I met a variety of interesting characters who I will try to recreate in the series. Although more importantly I believe being the first in my immediate family to attend college introduced some unique and oftentimes laughable learning curves suitable for dramatic storytelling.FireShot Screen Capture #010 - 'Miseducation of a First Generation College Student Ep_ 1 - YouTube' - www_youtube_com_watch_v=MLS9YXxUP38

Whereas Hollywood will produce inner-city stories about black males the narrative is limited. And this is why I want to tell my story. From John Singleton’s ‘Boyz n the Hood’ (1991) to Rick Famuyiwa’s ‘Dope’ (2015) a single parent struggling to raise an incredibly gifted athlete or genius who gets caught in a drug war is only part of the inner-city reality. As there are many two-parent homes struggling to raise children who never interact with drugs or gangs but must still overcome the challenges of their impoverished communities. There are different options in the ‘hood’. There are different people. There are different stories, problems, fates, and solutions. The drug dealer lives next door to someone who is devoutly religious and, though economically deprived, they are refusing to live morally corrupt; and next door to this staunchly religious neighbor there is someone different. And so if there is variety in the ghetto it should be reflected in the stories we tell. Otherwise we continue to glorify one part of the ghetto and what message does that send?

Dope was an amazingly well-crafted film but there could have been another obstacle in the main character’s life besides a bag of drugs. He could have had a father in the house and still struggled to get out of his poverty stricken neighborhood. There are entire families in the ghetto. There are blended families in the ghetto. We have to look at this. We have to know why Hollywood continues to produce stories about our inner-city youth from broken homes that involve the selling of drugs. Film is a powerful medium that helps to shape the identity of today’s youth.

It is difficult to defy the stereotypes mainstream media adamantly continues to produce. My web-series is one story about an inner-city black male who comes from a struggling two-parent home. He is not an athlete. He represents the ‘other’ part of the inner-city that successfully avoids selling narcotics. We love John Singleton. We love Dope; but we need to tell the rest of our story. The drug dealer is NOT the main character in every ghetto and some of us lived in two-parent homes. All of these images are important because we want to see the truth, but when part of the truth escapes us we remain ignorant about our diversity and potential.

Tylie is a rising dramatist who will attend the MFA program for dramatic writing at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in the fall. Follow his web-series @tylieshider on YouTube now!

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61 Responses to “Where’s the rest of it? Stories about black life in the inner-city.”
  1. Jabre says:

    The images and movies television of inner city represents my friends and community. In the article above shows movies that contain violence and gun activity. Those movies as described shows as the protagonist of each movie that there is a young man in both movies who are trying to succeed but faces problems in their lives. The young black generation today sees what happens on television and try to be exactly or do exactly as they see. Therefore, the images and movies of inner city represents my friends and community.

  2. David Canadas says:

    How does television influence popular culture?

    Television influences popular culture because it makes some things cool or OK that really aren’t. Take the bad girls club for instance instead of portraying the good things in life like them raising children by themselves or the jobs they work. Instead they live off of this girls fighting and basically just destroying there bodies even though they are strong minorities. They usually have a mix of Spanish and black women but instead of selling their insight and intellectual aspect they show off there negatives and them fighting.

  3. Skylin Williams says:

    Do you think the images on television of inner-city youth fairly represent your friends and community?

    The images on television of inner-city youth doesn’t fairly represent my friends and community because not every person of color is the same. There aren’t any drug dealers in my community however I live near a pretty rough town. Each and every one of my neighbors are very hard working and their kids all have 3.5 GPA’s or higher. The way they portray black people on television is wrong and should be stopped.

  4. Amanda says:

    Television portray inner-city youth because it doesn’t tell the hole story of the people who lives in the ‘hood’. They always show the negative but never show the positive. I don’t think the images on television of inner-city youth fairly represent my friends and community because people on television show the stereotypes that everybody thinks black people has and its really not all true.

  5. Nehemiah Appiah-Kubi says:

    Television Portrays inner-city youth as coming from a family base of a single mother, and the hardship of poverty, but really doesn’t catch the essence of the reality, to think about it there families in the inner-cities that have a household of two parents but primarily still struggle with the fact of raising their youth i the right manner,and face the adversity of poverty.

  6. Zhae Braswell says:

    In many television shows including Disney Channel they have this one show called Lab Rats. In this show, there is a black mom and a son he does not have a father but, the mom marries a white scientists who has 3 bionic children. He treats the black son like all the others but, I believe the show is kind of stereotypical because of the way they made her single mom and there was no story around his father.

  7. ShaQueese says:

    I do not think television of inner-city youth fairly portray my friends and community, the reason why is because the friends i hang around are not in a gang, not doing drugs nor selling drugs. It don’t represent my community as well because i live by a police station and not that much goes on cause they have a quick response.

  8. muhamed koroma says:

    The images on television of inner-city youth does not fairly represent my friends and community because its not like every colored person sells drugs, lives in the ghetto, has a single parent or is concentrated on being an Athlete, most of my friends already planned on going to college and they have a goal to achieve. I my self concentrate on my school work and not let others peer pressure me or be a bad influence in my life. I have a life to live and I wants to make my parents, family, and friends happy,,,…….

  9. Keandrei Tarver says:

    The television portrays inner-city youth as the typical average kids who have many problems going on in their home. They’re also categorized as people in the hood who have “no father” or “no other family member” in their home to connect with besides their mother. Whereas me, I have a father, a mother, and a large family to connect with rather than just the stereotypical trouble home/family. The television portrays them to be impoverished whereas my mother has some times where she struggles but she is doing really well. She has a great job, a good home, etc. What I’m trying to say is that people have different positions that they’re in. People meaning black people. They’re not just associated with drugs.

  10. Chantel Elliott says:

    Images and depictions on television of Inner City youth shed a bad light on them. People are no longer represented by facts but now their Falsely categorized. for Example, The Movie Menace to Society shows black men as drug Dealers and gang bangers. Not So. Not All Black men are like that. In fact some Pursue to become Bankers And Math teachers etc.. Nor do all Black men play Basketball and have Afros.That’s a Stereotype/Misconception.Everyone in The World is Different in Some way,shape,form or fashion.

  11. Amoni says:

    This article has much truth in it and everything stated is a true fact. My point is that yes we need to see more positive movies and shows about the black and Latino youth but how could one expect different if majority of youth continue to do as so. We want to make a change in hollywood and to people who makes movies and television shows, the change starts here. We have to change amongst ourselves. Or we will continue to be looked at and portrayed as so.

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