looking back at one of those “90’s TV” posts, I realized that TV really used to be much more colorful?!? Moesha and Mr. Cooper and Living Single and all that?!
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
Backlash, pure and simple. Used to have all black casts AND main secondary characters and background character casts of PoC. We had an Asian WoC as an Indiana Jones type figure, leading her own show; Relic Hunter. And an Asian Male with a secondary lead Black Male; The Crow: Stairway to Heaven.
These days if there were an XFiles? Cigarette Smoking Man - no wait, not him that OTHER cigarette smoking dude would be yt - Mr. X.
Backlash. The 90’s weren’t perfect, but they showed a lot of progress on tv when it came to leads and secondary characters and whole shows; PoC, including WoC and also YT women, were police captains, star ship/station captains, adventurers, college professors, university faculty, politicians, scientists, superheroes, tv broadcast reporters, ADA’s, surgeons, genius level students, college students, rock stars — the list goes ON and ON.
UPN’s lineup had a lot of them; Moesha, The Parkers, Living Single, Martin. But other channels had one or two shows too; Amen - for example.
As Fundamental Conservatism (backed by the Fundamental Christian Movement) grew in the US? We disappeared off the screen. As the Plutocracy took over more? We disappeared off the screen, along with working class yt characters and immigrants, and first generation USians. (Example; no more like Roseanne or Grace Under Fire etc…)
Heck, ER had black surgeons, disabled doctors, lesbian doctors, disabled lesbian doctors …
The Sentinel has a Black MoC as third lead, Black reoccurring chars, plenty of PoC guest stars.
We had an all black cast of claymation characters. Several animation shows - whether or not they were strictly aimed at youth.
I don’t think it started with 21 Jump Street. But in the beginning JS had three PoC, before it became the Johnny Depp show and then the Johnny Depp Look A Like Show. But late 80’s into 90’s had Jump Street, Cosby Show, A Different World, etc…
And look it now. It’s a big deal Almost Human has a Black Male as co-lead. It’s a big deal Lucy Liu is on equal footing with Johnny Lee Miller.
TV started looking too much like the real world in the 90’s.
ETA: Remember ‘I’ll Fly Away’ ? Think it could show up NOW?
THIS IS SO TRUE! POC are JUST now coming back as main characters like in TVD, TO, Scandal, & Sleepy Hollow!