May 18, 2018
Social progress: black power takes a new meaning in the media By Rhaya Truman, Print Features Editor
No matter what race you are, it is always a nice feeling to see yourself represented some way in the media. There are multiple ways someone can feel empowered on the internet. Some of these are as simple as seeing someone of your own color in a big movie or doing something innovative to the world. As a minority, realizing that you are not alone in striving for excellence truly motivates you, and most of all, it provides you with proof that no matter your creed, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, if you want to become something you can. In the past few years, black representation in the media has skyrocketed in ways that were previously unheard of. “Black Panther,” which is the first Marvel movie to have a black hero as the main character, has broken numerous records and made history. In just the second week, the movie made $700 million from box office alone. The outstanding aspect about the film is the fact that not all of these people were black people who wanted to see their race represented. It was people of all color and ethnicities who wanted to be apart of
this historic moment in ripping apart the usual expectations of black actors and actresses in the media. The TV industry is becoming more open to the idea of the black community having a voice. Sure, we had figures in shows like “Everybody Hates Chris,” “Madea” and many more, but these were all based off of jokes and never touched on the topics of race because it was seen as sensitive. Nowadays we have movies like “Get Out” speaking about the true and deep prejudice that goes on behind the closed doors of race. Between the 1940s and 1960s, the development of film wasn’t made to fit any color darker than white. It was not until the 1970s that film was becoming more universal. This makes sense when we look at traditional movies in black households like “Love & Basketball,” “The Wood” and “Soul Food” which were the first movies to have the film that could truly portray the rich color of the characters’ skin. Obviously throughout the years we have grown out of this, but it is interesting to know that not only were we restrained socially from television, but we were also restrained by the makers of the movies themselves. It adds another layer onto the problem we have had with
black representation on TV in the past. Recently an original Netflix series entitled “Dear White People” aired in April of 2017. The series stars a young black girl in college who works to represent the need for the acceptance of the black community. The show makes multiple jokes and references towards sensitive race topics, and although this is true, it is still widely accepted by a lot of people. But with this, we can understand that not everybody likes the idea of black people being able to be heard anytime we want. There are always going to be people who do not want us to succeed in becoming a powerful minority and constantly want to push us down. But we constantly have actors and actresses’ who push past these limits. One of those is Sterling K. Brown who plays Randall Pearson in the series “This Is Us,” who is the first black male to ever win the award for Best Performance the years 2018 Golden Globe. Along with this, Oprah Winfrey is the first black woman to ever win a prestigious award for lifetime achievement at the award show. This is what we call black excellence. Not only are these figures doing things that have not been done before, but they are chang-
Graphic by Emmanuelle Copeland
ing the way we look at television and who should be included in it. Aside from just television, black communities have taken over social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to share their thoughts on race issues and help educate other people. We are not only becoming known through TV roles but also with the tap of the finger. We know we have a long
way to go, considering only this year a person of color has won a Golden Globe, but even a small step is still progress. With the upward rise of black representation in the media, we as young consumers are bound to understand the importance behind including all people. Black power will continue to get stronger, and we will continue to contribute every day with our excellence and drive.
A path forward Dear DGS Seniors, School ends in just a few short days. With the conclusion of high school and really with the conclusion of our last 12 years of education together, we will now part ways. Some of us will depart to four year universities, others to community colleges and others into the workforce. But this is not about where we are going. It’s about where we have been and why we should not turn our backs on this school. I do not mean to imply this school is perfect or even the best. It has its faults, that much we all know. I also know that many students have been counting down the days to graduation. To some, graduation represents a release date
from a prison. I disagree, while graduation certainly marks the start of new and exciting opportunities, I believe it’s important to look back, reminisce and possibly be a little emotional. The end of high school is a big change. It marks the beginning of adulthood, of unfettered freedom and of no more ridiculously early mornings. But before enjoying these changes, take a moment to reflect. Look back on the last four years—the good, the bad and the ugly. On reflection I believe everyone can see how much everyone has changed, how much we have grown collectively as a class and as individuals. So as we all move on along our own paths, don’t forget the memories we’ve all made, the people we’ve met and the teach-
Photo by Marc Alvarez,
ers who’ve helped us along the way. Take time, reflect and be thankful for everything DGS has to offer. And
remember to always be respectful, responsible and engage: it’s the Mustang Way.
Best wishes, Marc Alvarez