Pro Tip to Talk to All Your Black Friends
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because in this story? Black people don’t have to be sidekicks in a white kid’s show or protagonists in their own Cosby-verse.
By Sanjena Sathian
I’m a skeptic when it comes to person-on-the-street videos. I’m a skeptic when it comes to funny-about-race listicals, viral vids, whatever. Which is why you’ve got something special when you manage to elicit a laugh, a double-take, and a “hey, Martha” (that’s 60 Minutes lingo for the kind of surprising idea so big that you’ve gotta call your wife Martha from the couch to come and have-a-looksee).
So, good for Black Folk Don’t, the web mini-series with a new show every Monday, for successfully blending real faces with real funny: real flavor with real facts.
The show’s the brainchild of Brooklyn-based director Angela Tucker – whose team includes Italians, Cubans, Asian-Americans (in short, this ain’t all black folk telling you what black folk don’t do).
Forget all the effortful attempts at stereotype-elimination, which, frankly, gets pretty boring in comedy.
And forget all the effortful attempts at stereotype-elimination, which, frankly, gets pretty boring in comedy. (Like that time at a comedy show I watched Aziz Ansari’s routine get cut short so he could have an open conversation with the audience about race. Wasn’t he trying to do that already, before you pulled him away from the mic?) Black Folk Don’t starts with a bouncy intro that tells you right up front: there’s many faces to race. And then, with that out of the way, a slew of black folk, on the streets, or sitting in front of hip Brooklyn brick walls – why, they look you right in the face, and they tell you: black folk don’t ski, don’t do plastic surgery (disclaimer: this episode features OZY’s own Deilia Jackson); they don’t go camping, commit suicide, adopt – hell, they’re not even feminists.
Then again. There’s always a wrinkle – like the plastic surgeon doctor who weighs in to point out that, actually, the number of African-Americans seeking plastic surgery’s gone up 4 times in the last decade … or that maybe it’s a $$ thing, not (just) a black-don’t-crack thing.
But okay. It’s a big deal because, looking into a confessional camera, there’s a little bit more naked honesty – and naked hilarity. The kinda thing you might not get at a cocktail party when someone jokingly steps into the “hey, why don’t black people want to get in the pool?” territory.
See for yourself – from Blackpublicmedia.org and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting: