By Andrea Plaid
Once again, one of my favorite online professor bros, Dr. Mark Anthony Neal, has connected me to some amazingness.
Last week, I shouted him out for letting me that my boyfriend-in-my-head, Dr. Vijay Prashad, is hanging in the Twitterverse. Now, thanks to his Facebook feed, I found this pretty fabulous web series, Black Folk Don’t.
The webisodes starts with riffs from Black people on the streets on the things Black people are stereotyped as, well, not doing: not tipping, not participating in winter sports, not swimming, not going to the doctors, not seeking therapy, not traveling (especially internationally), and other notions before settling in on the topic. Then, award-winning showrunner Angela Tucker and her equally distinguished crew, in response to a call from the National Black Programming Consortium for a web series, sit down with family, friends, and folks in both New York City and New Orleans to see if these stereotypes hold true in their own lives and the lives of people they know.
Of course, the answer winds up being, “Of course not!” But watching and listening to how people come to their conclusions (on all sides of the stereotype) is funny and fascinating:
The show, which is in its second season, has picked up media love from, among other spots, The Root, Jet, Time, and Shadow and Act. And I can see why: I watched both seasons in one sitting–and even repeated a couple–because the eps are well-done slices of ongoing conversations within Black communities about what being Black means. (And you get to sample some great music from emerging artists like Sean Padilla of the Cocker Spaniels.)
In this season of Black family reunions (some of y’all know what I’m talking about), Black Folk Don’t feels pretty much like that: that laughter-filled conversation you have over food that also gives you food for thought.
And Dr. Neal owes me a game of horseshoes.