Type keyword(s) to search


"Black excellence" shows like Bel-Air, The Kings of Napa and Our Kind of People feel out of step with their audience

  • "These three shows differ in plot, tone, and production value, yet they’re all fluent in the language of 'Black excellence,' or the long-held belief among African Americans that they must work twice as hard for half as much as white people receive," says Tanisha C. Ford, adding: "These shows are obsessed with cash and glamour, reminding viewers in nearly every scene that African Americans, too, have generational wealth and sophisticated taste. For some Black viewers—the presumed core audience for these series—the glitzy theatrics provide welcome escapism from a world rife with anti-Black violence. But these shows also feel out of step with the cultural zeitgeist and with an audience that has been showing signs of Black-excellence fatigue for some time. Since 2020, aversion has grown in particular toward the ideology that links exorbitant wealth and conspicuous consumption to social progress for African Americans. This thought pattern mandates that African Americans work twice as hard to get … things: mansions, designer clothes, private jets to private islands. Many Black capitalists have long argued that buying power and entrepreneurship are the path to racial and economic justice. But the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its concomitant economic effects for Black communities, as well as the nationwide protests after the police killing of George Floyd, led to public disavowals of 'excellence' and free enterprise reaching a fever pitch."

    TOPICS: Bel-Air, The Kings of Napa, Our Kind of People, African Americans and TV