The First Television Series with an all black cast- Amos n Andy Show
Well isn’t it a miracle when we see black tv shows? It is because it’s
not enough. I’m impressed with Tyler Perry’s tv shows “House of Payne”.
I was watching it on tv, now I will start watching it
on cable now tha I’m on college break. They say unity
is power, especially black unity. Therefore black tv shows
are powerful. It’s the best when our peoplework together.
Well now, I just want to point out a black tv show
way way back in hiosty.
It was a show that was the direct descendent of
the radio show that beganon WMAQ. It has the ultimate achievement of being the longest running radio program
in broadcast history. It was created and put
into action by Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll.
Two white actorsdecided to take on the roles of
Amos Jones and Andy Brown by speaking an
African AMerican dialect.
THe importance of Amos n Andy is that it has
a 30 year history as the most abundantly
successful radio show. The show had its
short contentious years on network television
and its termination from prime-time and
subsequent years in syndication. The media
stills debates the position of Amos n Andy
show in television history. This is shown
by media scholars in the most up to date
books on cultural history of American television.
Amos n’ Andy was first shown on CBS television
in June 1951. This showcontinued until two
years before the program was terminated .
This happened even while black community
protested in 1953. What stands out even
more about its role in black history is that
it was the first television series with an
all black cast.
The characters had a diversity of roles.
Andy Brown- was a business associate
Kingfish Stevens- was known for being
a scheming smoothie.
Lawyer Calhoun- took on the role of the
underhanded crook that no one
Lightnin- is one of the characters known
for being a slow moving janitor.
Sapphire Stevens- is a nosey loud mouth.
Mama- was a bossy mother in law.
Then there is the Madame Queen.
The characters were truly stereotypical.
Think about how Hollywood portrays
black characters in a “Stereotyped”
manner. It’s not as if we should be
robots to bad deeds. We are people
and deserve to have many roles. This
show was very insulting because of
the stupid pathetic blackface and
minstrelsy they created in our honor.
It gave us experience but in a negative light.
And what they wanted to use as negative is
a future positive. Lookat all the African American
entertainers doing positive things. Yet,there
are positive roles in media like Keke Palmer in that
movie where she wins the spelling bee. I only saw
the previews butone day I will see the whole movie.
The television portion of Amos n Andy
was almost equivalent to the popularity
of the radio version. I never really researched
the Amos n Andy show and never knew that
that’s where they got blackface from.
Media historian Donald Bogel states
“Neither CBS nor the programs creators
were ready for the change in national
temperament after the World War II…
Within black America, a new political
consciousness and a new awareness
of the importance of image had shown.
Though hardly void of the cruel
insults and disparaging imagery of the past,
Hollywood of the World War II
era chauffered in a selection of better
roles and positive images for
African American performers in Hollywood.
American motion pictures showed off the
first glimpses of black soliders fighting side
by side with white comrades. African American
entertainers appeared in sequined gowns
and tuxedos instead of bandannas and
calico dresses. Black character had become
upgraded, starring as lawyers, teachers and
contributing members of society.”
And guess what though? We did a lot more
positive things besides entertainment.
Keep reading my blog and you will learn a lot of lessons
in due time.