The fact that "racism inscribed in the nation's Constitution and legal history has practically insured that a national tendency towards blindness, psychosis and stammering around race would carry over into the 21st century,"(Tate 44) and this is clearly demonstrated in America's modern media. Today we see the demonstration and celebration of the clever and reflective achievements of African Americans not only in the field of entertainment, but also in other distinct fields as well. This paper will explore the changing representations of African Americans in theatre and television. I will also examine the implications of these roles and the ways in which they influence others’ perceptions of the black race.
There are many intelligent Blacks working in the American theatre today who have labored to bring forth its daring and often healing truths.
Reviewing the bulk African American performance, theatre and drama, and brings into focus the years of glory of the Harlem Renaissance, ranging from the plays and sporting events to fights and dances. To assess the development in the American African theatre, one needs to examine the important contributions of the black male and female playwrights. With the contemporary focus on multi-cultural theatre, anthologies of plays by African Americans are important additions about the Black theatre because the number of venues in producing plays by African American authors has greatly increased (Collier). Criteria that make a television and film drama great and some productions mediocre are the significant stories that show the age and the period by portraying the characteristic conflict and choices and immediate circumstances of the characters’ lives.
' lives. Today, the visual media and studies are employing different approaches and methods whereby some skim the surface and shun the question of value, while others penetrate beneath the surface and take on questions of value in the most direct way.
Drama and movies have presented models that have had the ability of being challenging, probing, insightful and therapeutic by portraying believable characters in credible situations, challenged to make choices. It is clear "America is experiencing a new black cultural renaissance, and nowhere is it more evident than on the nation's theatre stages." (Nesmith). While old stereotypes are not completely gone. Some shows project Blacks as lazy and not wanting to better themselves, when in reality it is an enormous struggle to overcome oppression and gain equal opportunities for themselves.
Everything produced on the television cannot always be great drama. Certain shows set back race relations because their view of Black assimilation is not projected positively. But the works of the African American playwrights present the philosophy and magnitude due to the depth of the inner unity between the characters and the concrete collisions of the socio-historical forces of their time. Around the 1950's, the visual entertainment was shifting toward television shows, and it became important for the survival of the motion picture to have new ideas. This resulted in the 1950 Hollywood presentation of a Black middle class family, "No Way Out." "Thirty years ago, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, in the year Malcolm X was shot and riots broke out across the country, Douglas Turner Ward used comedy and satire to deliver a message of the