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Black Situation Comedies Past and Present We are more or less told who we are rather than askedwe sing we dance we tell jokes- thats all we are allowed to do We entertain Hill 56 Marla Gibb actress on The Jeffersons and 227 stated this when testifying to the US Commission of Civil Rights about the confining representations of African Americans on television But are African Americans capable of showing a different side through this medium Evidently so as shown such shows as The Cosby Show and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air But if these shows can succeed and at the same time portray African Americans in a positive light why do sitcoms like Amos n Andy and Beulah continue to reappear in the form of such shows as The Wayans Brothers and Martin The integrity of African Americans is being comprised as these sitcoms display excessive buffoonery and negative stereotypes Over the years African Americans sitcoms have grown from negative portrayals such as Amos n Andy to some few positive portrayals particularly The Cosby Show only to regress to even more negative portrayals of African Americans in todays sitcoms Amos n Andy began as a radio program in Chicago performed by two Caucasian men In 1951 after increasing popularity as a radio program NBC picked it up as a TV show Like most Fifties sitcoms Amos n Andy had broad comic characterizations and outlandish plotlines None of the stories had anything to do with race and on a positive note introduced the concept of black doctors business leaders and lawyers in dignified roles - a first for any medium Ely 20 Still times being what they were it was inappropriate - no matter how excellent the show was - to show blacks as buffoons if there were no other shows on television featuring African-Americans in serious roles Amos n Andy gave out a message that Black America has little to contribute to
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