Color by Fox: The Fox Network and the Revolution in Black Television / Edition 1

Color by Fox: The Fox Network and the Revolution in Black Television / Edition 1

by Kristal Brent Zook
     
 

ISBN-10: 0195106121

ISBN-13: 9780195106121

Pub. Date: 05/28/1999

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

Following the overwhelming success of "The Cosby Show" in the 1980s, an unprecedented shift took place in television history: white executives turned to black dollars as a way of salvaging network profits lost in the war against video cassettes and cable T.V. Not only were African-American viewers watching disproportionately more network television

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Overview

Following the overwhelming success of "The Cosby Show" in the 1980s, an unprecedented shift took place in television history: white executives turned to black dollars as a way of salvaging network profits lost in the war against video cassettes and cable T.V. Not only were African-American viewers watching disproportionately more network television than the general population but, as Nielsen finally realized, they preferred black shows. As a result, African-American producers, writers, directors, and stars were given an unusual degree of creative control over shows such as "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air," "Roc," "Living Single," and "New York Undercover". What emerged were radical representations of African-American memory and experience.

Offering a fascinating examination of the explosion of black television programming in the 1980s and 1990s, this book provides, for the first time ever, an interpretation of black TV based in both journalism and critical theory. Locating a persistent black nationalist desire—a yearning for home and community—in the shows produced by and for African-Americans in this period, Kristal Brent Zook shows how the Fox hip-hop sitcom both reinforced and rebelled against earlier black sitcoms from the sixties and seventies. Incorporating interviews with such prominent executives, producers, and stars as Keenen Ivory Wayans, Sinbad, Quincy Jones, Robert Townsend, Charles Dutton, Yvette Lee Bowser, and Ralph Farquhar, this study looks at both production and reception among African-American viewers, providing nuanced readings of the shows themselves as well as the sociopolitical contexts in which they emerged.

While black TV during this period may seem trivial or buffoonish to some, Color by Fox reveals its deep-rooted ties to African-American protest literature and autobiography, and a desire for social transformation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195106121
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
05/28/1999
Series:
W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
176
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 5.40(h) x 0.50(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction1
Pt. 1Color and Caste
1Blood Is Thicker than Mud: C-Note Goes to Compton on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air15
2High Yella Bananas and Hair Weaves: The Sinbad Show25
3Ralph Farquhar's South Central and Pearl's Place to Play: Why They Failed Before Moesha Hit36
Pt. 2Gender and Sexuality
4Sheneneh, Gender-Fuck, and Romance: Martin's Thin Line Between Love and Hate53
5Living Single and the "Fight for Mr. Right": Latifah Don't Play65
Pt. 3Social Movement
6Under the Sign of Malcolm: Memory, Feminism, and Political Activism on Roc77
7Boricua Power in the Boogie-Down Bronx: Puerto Rican Nationalism on New York Undercover88
Conclusion100
Notes108
References118
Index143

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