Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Aiming Higher in Black Representation?

In his article Harlem Heights' Aims Higher, Aaron Barnhart describes a recent reality series that depicts African American men and women in a more positive light than normal. Harlem Heights has a specific goal, "to start a new conversation among these young upwardly mobile African-Americans in their 20s who make up the new Harlem renaissance,” according to co-creator, Randolph Sturrup. He also mentioned that this positive imagine is not shown as much, if at all, in the media.

Barnhart notes that "“Harlem Heights” arrives at a propitious time in cultural history, when a generation of African-Americans have been overachieving but their voice in the national media has been underachieving.”

Notwithstanding Barack Obama, we often hear about rappers, athletes, actors, and the people that make the news due to criminal behavior. But, certainly there are other representations of African Americans to consider.

Barnhart notes that “Harlem Heights” shows some of the typical, troubling portrayals of African Americans, but says that it does not sink to the lows of BET’s “College Hill.” Instead, “It’s clear that these aspirational African-Americans” on “Harlem Heights” belong to a larger community that defies the ‘buppie’ label.”


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