Thursday, Oct 22nd

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Hey! Hey! Hey? The Absence of Black Cartoons


In a world full of multiculturalism and in the era of Obama, one would think there would be more cartoons and shows for black children. The '70s had “The Jackson 5ive,” a fictional cartoon about the adventures of the boy band. “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids” ran for more than 15 years, until 1985, and targeted black youth from low-income families. in the early ’90s, Rapper MC Hammer enjoyed the short-lived success of the animated series “Hammerman."

Similarly, the new millennium ushered in a new slew of popular television series like “The Proud Family,” “That’s So Raven,” and “Little Bill,” which catered to black children. Today many networks no longer produce such programming, and African American parents must search high and low for black feature characters. How can we expect our children to identify with and relate to characters played on YouTube? What does that say to black children?

Every culture has its own set of distinct issues, and children’s shows should reflect that. Our community needs more television shows that provide education and self-empowerment and depict positive role models for them. It is important to show them that all things are possible.

Nickelodeon’s “True Jackson, VP” is one of the few good examples of a show catered to young black girls. It stars actress Keke Palmer as an ambitious and creative teen who works as the vice president of the youth apparel division for a prestigious fashion designer.

In 2011, television networks still have a long way to go in providing adequate multicultural programming for children. We must encourage racial pride through am array of well-drawn characters. The world is full of color, so we have a continued responsibility to bring that positive light that can help so many young children of color feel comfortable in their own skin.

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