The Revolution Of Being Televised

The same dudes who laughing after you go/

Be the same dudes emailing asking you 'bout your show/

It's on FX? Tight, nigga/

Me and my homies making flicks/

Me and my homies making beats/

Me and my homies making hits/

- Childish Gambino, "Yaphet Kotto"

Get Out. Roma. Black Panther. Parasite. Crazy Rich Asians. BlacKkKlansman. Sorry To Bother You. Straight Outta Compton. Ramy. Master Of None. The Chi. Insecure. Snowfall. Ballers. Atlanta.

We've seen an explosion of creativity in recent years, things that have achieved not only critical and commercial success but have a strong cultural currency, whether being memes or references or trends. Seeing creativity in a generation of arts and entertainment is nothing new, but the diversity of people in the writer's room and behind the camera is unprecedented, which excites me for the future. I wrote a few years ago about Childish Gambino's prophetic proclamation of a new black renaissance, but it seems America has slowly introduced more of an international flavor to its cultural palate, with Roma breaking the record for most Academy Awards by a foreign language film and Parasite being the first South Korean film to win Best Picture. Even though films like Green Book seems to still beat films like Roma, it's encouraging to see films like Parasite beat films like Joker.

I understand if you aren't into certain genres and that's why you've skipped certain movies. I only recently watched Crazy Rich Asians and still haven't watched Roma, for the sole reason that romance movies don't really interest me. I like action and crime movies, so there are other things that are more in my wheelhouse. But that's the beauty of this new cultural revolution: the same way that everyone has the opportunity to create and tell their stories, people all over the world can look at the screen and say "that's me". If you want to fall in love with Henry Golding and Constance Wu, you can do that. If you want to sail the stars with Taika Waititi, you can do that. If you want to fight alongside Chadwick Boseman and Michael B. Jordan or solve crimes with Spike Lee, the answer has gone from a hushed "maybe in February" to a resounding "Yes We Can".

There's still a long way to go. Lena Waithe, Sam Jay, Shonda Rhimes, Ava Duvernay and Issa Rae have made big strides for black women (the former two being queer women at that), but they seem to be Hollywood's go-to for diversity. 50 Cent's Power and Dwayne Johnson's Ballers have expanded their respective platforms to the point the latter was able to buy a sports league, much like Ice Cube's post-rap career. Crazy Rich Asians did a fantastic job of introducing a ton of actors to American viewers, but when will we see another leading role played by an actor of Asian descent? Shang-Chi And The Ten Rings looks to be ticking a box for Marvel's diversity list, but it's also a movie keeping in the near cliché tradition of martial arts films. I'm torn because I believe tradition does have a place in movies, but I also want to see them grow and expand into new realms of creativity.

Which brings me to Get Out's legacy. At first, I was mostly excited because Get Out put a massive spotlight on issues that actually directly affect even my personal life. But as more movies about more backgrounds get made, there was one trailer that jumped out to me: Judas And The Black Messiah, co-written by twin comedians Kenny and Keith Lucas in what's hopefully becoming a trend of black comics writing dramas about stories that mean a lot to them. We've seen actors and comedians make a living off roles that are political or humor that is politically tinged, guys like Dave Chappelle, Trevor Noah and Aaron McGruder. But we haven't seen the full swap from comic to dramatic writer, with the closest being Donald Glover's chameleon talents.

Sometimes we look around and see despair, wondering if things will ever be back to normal. But what if this is the new normal? What if the list of properties above isn't a list of things BIPOC did, but of award nominees? You don't necessarily have to like these genres or even projects, but I hope you see how important it is to build a foundation to grow and build on.

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