Monday, November 12, 2012

Where are the black sitcoms?

Have you noticed the legal segregation on television? You're probably wondering how is segregation legal on television. How many black sitcoms do you see on television, on regular channels that is; CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC, UPN and WPIX. As far as I can remember CBS never had black shows, interesting. Now we have to rely on TVOne, Centric and BET to watch black shows. It didn't happen over night. It was a slow unexpecting process. That makes me think back to a time when there was black sitcoms on television.

During the 1940's -1960's there were only white sitcoms. Yes, blacks had roles in sitcoms but I'm talking about an all black cast. But that changed in 1968 when a show called "Julia", starring Diahann Carroll aired. That set a mark for the 1970's and beyond. During the 1970's, there was
"Baby, I'm Back"               "Good Times" 
"Sanford and Son"            "The Bill Cosby Show" (not the one your thinking about) 

"The Jeffersons"               "The Flip Wilson Show"

"That's my Mama"           "What's Happening!!"

These were the most popular. Many African Americans could and still can relate to these shows. It was a hit. Television had color, people of color that is. Out of these shows, "The Jeffersons" was the longest running sitcom lasting 11 seasons going into the mid 80's.

During the 1980's there were 
"227"                                   "A Different World" 
"Amen"                                "Different Strokes" 
"Gimme A Break"               "The Cosby Show" 
"The Redd Foxx Show"      "Webster" 
"What's Happening Now!!"

All these shows and some others made it's lasting mark for black sitcoms on television. The major black sitcom of all was "The Cosby Show". "The Cosby Show" set a positive light on African Americans on television by projecting a hard-working mother who was a lawyer and a father who was a doctor at home raising 5 kids. "The Cosby Show" really shaped and shook television.

That show lasted through the mid 1990's coming into a booming era of black shows on television. Let's see there were
"Arsenio"                                             "City Guys" 
"Cosby"                                               "Family Matters" 
"Hanging with Mr. Cooper"               "Here and Now" 
"Homeboys in Outer Space"               "In Living Color" 
"In the House"                                    "Kenan &Kel" 
"Living Single"                                   "Malcolm and Eddie" 
"Martin"                                             "Moesha" 
"On Our Own"                                    "Out All Night" 
"Roc"                                                  "Sister, Sister"
 "Smart Guy"                                      "South Central" 
"Sparks"                                             "The Fresh Prince of Belair" 
"The Jamie Foxx Show"                    "Parent Hood" 
"The PJs"                                           "Sinbad Show" 
"Steve Harvey Show"                        "The Wayans Brothers" 

This is just a few. Black shows was a HUGE hit in the 1990's. We had our Thursday night line up after "The Cosby Show" went off the air. Thursday night line up on FOX consist of  "Martin", "Living Single", and "New York Undercover". Monday nights we had "Fresh Prince of Belair" and T.G.I.F. (Friday shows) was "Family Matters", "Own Our Own", Sister, Sister". There was so many options. It was heaven on television for black sitcoms.

The success of black sitcoms continued into the 2000's but began to decrease. There was 
"All About the Anderson"                      "All of Us" 
"Cory in the House"                              "Eve" 
"Everybody Hates Chris"                     "For your Love" 
"Girlfriends"                                         "Half & Half"  
"Meet the Browns"                               "Method &Red" 
"My Wife and Kids"                              "One on One"  
"Romeo"                                               "That's So Raven" 
"Bernie Mac Show"                              "The Boondocks" 
"The Game"                                         "The Hughleys" 
"The Parkers"                                      "The Proud Family" 
"The Tracey Morgan Show"                 "True Jackson VP" 
"House of Payne"                                 "Soul Food"

It seems like a lot of black shows but it was shown sporadically throughout the 2000's and the shows didn't last for too many seasons.

Between 2010-2012 there was only
"Hawthrone"                           "Rickey Smiley Show"
"Let's Stay Together"              "Love That Girl"
"Reed between the Lines"        "The Soul Man"
"For Better or Worse"

(What are major decrease of Black Sitcoms!)
But these shows are on black own television channels. African Americans have to rely on TvOne, Centric and BET to watch black sitcoms. Some cable and satellite dishes doesn't carry these channels. On TvOne and Cenetric, they play a lot of re-runs of the black sitcoms. So why aren't there sitcoms on "regular" stations anymore? Yes, it's the reality, singing and dancing contest era but there are still slots for t.v. sitcoms and hour shows. There haven't been ANY black sitcoms on the main stations since 2009. There is now nostalgia of black sitcoms as we now rely on the re-runs of black sitcoms. So where are the black sitcoms? Are the black television channels, TvOne, BET, and Cenetric, a new place for upcoming black sitcoms because "main television stations" have given up on black sitcoms?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2 weeks after Hurricane Sandy

The last time I wrote was last Thursday, November 1st regarding Hurricane Sandy. Remember, I wrote about electricity being restored within 2 weeks. Well, electricity has been restored to majority everyone living in New Jersey. There's so much progress that has happened, along with setbacks and ongoing frustrations. Let's start with electricity.

When Hurricane Sandy pounced on us like a roaring hungry lioness, she caused 4.8 million people to loose electricity in 15 states as well as D.C., but here in New Jersey there were nearly 2 million people without electricity and over 1.5 million people without electricity in New York. The temperatures was in the high 40's in the morning and low 20's and 30's in the evening. Millions of people stayed in their homes praying that electricity will be restored  very soon. Dreaming of the warmth of their homes and normality of their lives only to wake up to reality. The loss of electricity also affected gas stations.

Hundreds of gas stations was without electricity. That's what gas stations need to pump gas to cars. They need electricity. That wasn't the only problem. Gas stations also ran out of gas and most importantly, hundreds of them were prices gouging their prices. There were miles and miles of cars lined up to get gas for 6 or sometimes 12 hours for some who slept in their cars to be the first ones to get gas; only to become extremely angry to find out that the gas station doesn't have electricity anymore or that the fuel trucks aren't coming. New Jersey only had 20% of their gas stations working. I chose to stay home to conserve my gas. I felt if I didn't have to be on the road, I'll stay home until I can get gas freely without waiting for gas. It was insane, especially when gas stations wanted to illegally raise their gas prices like a gas station in Patterson, New Jersey who raised their prices to $5.50 for regular, whereas, the average price in Jersey was $3.40. They're paying for it now. Gas wasn't just used for vehicles but for generators too. People powered up their generators to keep their lights and heat on in their home. So now, there were lines of hundreds of people standing in line at the 20% open gas stations here in New Jersey. Some people became so desperate, they would drive to our neighboring state of Pennsylvania to full up their gas tank and fill 3 or 4 red gas containers. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Then Governor Christie came up with a brilliant idea of gas ration beginning Saturday, November 3rd. If the last number on your license plate number is an even number then you can get gas on even number days of the month. If the last number on your license plate number is an odd number then you can get gas on odd number days of the month. Of course there were hundred of people that would find something to complain about concerning this gas ration. It seems as though people didn't understand what odd and even numbers were. HELLO!!!! Isn't that's something you learn in second grade during early elementary school. It isn't difficult 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 are even and 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 are odd numbers. Finally people figured it out within 2 days. Gas lines became shorter. People no longer waited in gas lines for 2 hours. By Thursday, November 8th, people was able to get gas freely. Governor Christie did an excellent job issuing the gas ration, unlike New York who decided to give out free gas to many people in the 5 boroughs which caused a lot of chaos and disorder; only to decide to issue the gas ration in New York on Thursday, November 8th. Why wait for a week and a half to go by to decide to issue gas ration? The government had an option to to give out the free gas or do gas ration. Well, we now see the best option.

Now we're able to go the mall, movies, hang out with friends, family and help others without worrying about waiting in line for 2 to 4 hours to get gas. Getting gas now means many people now have electricity. But there is still a loud cry for thousands of others who doesn't have electricity. We were making numerous and fast progress after Hurricane Sandy but suddenly we were hit with a Nor'Easter a couple of days later. People who regained their power, had lost it again because the state was hit with blistering winds, heavy snow and pouring rain, which brought down more trees and power lines. In New Jersey we have 3 main utility companies, Atlantic Electric Company, JCP&L and PSE&G. Atlantic Electric company restored nearly all of their customers electricity by the end of the week Hurricane Sandy hit us. That was an awesome job! PSE&G restored more than half of their customers by the end of the week Hurricane Sandy hit us, leaving 400,000 people without people. But that's better than nearly 2 million for Monday and Tuesday of October 30th and 31st. JOB WELL DONE! PSE&G is the largest utility company in new Jersey. It covers 2/3 of Jersey's population. But then you have JCP&L who hasn't lived up to their name. There are still thousands of their customers without electricity as of today, whereas, Atlantic Electric and PSE&G have nearly all customer's electricity restored. It seems as though JCP&L are sitting on their behinds not working to their fullest potential. I understand people must be patient but how long are they suppose to wait to get their electricity back? Well, by the end of today Saturday, November 10th, Governor Christie said all people will have electricity by the end of the night. At this time PSE&G has about 99% of their customers with power. Atlantic Electric Company has 100% of their customer's electricity restored. JCP&L has 85% restored. We have over 8,000 utility workers from other states here to help us. I'm hearing stories that JCP&L are unorganized and they don't know exactly what to do. Let me tell you what to do, take notes from PSE&G and Atlantic Electric. I'm sure you'll get some ideas about organization and know how to restore power within a timely fashion despite having being hit by the worst hurricane and Nor'Easter within days from each other.

But my heart goes out to those who lost their homes, businesses and land. There isn't enough money to help them get all those things back. Many people spent years and generations in the areas that was wiped out. Yeah, we may complain about long gas lines and not having electricity but what about those who lost everything? What about the young lady who dropped out of Rutgers University because her parents were killed by a tree during the storm, she has to now care for her 3 young siblings. What about homes and businesses that was tossed onto Route 35? What about the thriving Jersey Shore that everyone goes to for vacation which was filled with businesses and homes? But yet people like us complain about not having gas and electricity.
Who do we think we are? We are people who need to pull together.Jersey is already in the process of rebuilding. Sure, we're not as bad as New Orleans, but we suffered greatly too. Yes, this was the 2nd worst hurricane in US history but  we're making progress. As long as we pull together, help one another out, we'll do just fine. Its amazing of the improvements and restoration that has been done within 2 weeks of Hurricane Sandy and the Nor'Easter. It looks as though nothing happened. All the snow has melted away, down trees and wires are moved and debris has been taken to wastelands. I'm proud to be from New Jersey, I wouldn't trade it for another state. I think we will be better prepared next time this happens. Nothing comes to us as a shock anymore.

Like I said before by Thanksgiving we will have so much more to be thankful for. By Christmas, we will see the miracles and wonders I told you about that we have here in the Tri-State area. By New Years, all will be forgiven only to look ahead to the beautiful summer months. Of course, the Jersey Shore won't be there but other beaches will.  The faith, love and hard work of the people in New Jersey and New York will make that happen.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

My view on Hurricane Sandy in Central New Jersey

Hurricane Sandy hit us Jerseyans as an unimaginable storm. I live in Orange, NJ borderline West Orange, Montclair and Glen Ridge. I was like so many other people who didn't take the hurricane too seriously. I giggled at people rushing to the supermarkets on Saturday, October 27th stacking up on batteries, candles, can goods, fruit and tons of cases of water. I always make sure my home have cases of water and perishables if anything would ever arise. But on this day, I only needed three cases of water not knowing what Hurricane Sandy had in mind.

On Sunday morning, October 28th, I chose not to go to my home church in Rahway, New Jersey (Agape Family Worship Center) so I can have the perfect parking spot away from leaning trees. I had to follow my gut feeling. I played games and watched movies with my son and watched Sunday's service online. The clouds began to thicken, but I continued to look at Hurricane Sandy as a regular storm.

On Monday, October 29th, things began to take a turn for the worse. I had to make a quick run to a nearby CVS for some toiletries. The wind was intense. I remember while I was at a red light, I felt the wind shake my 2009 Toyota Corolla. I just laughed saying out loud, "Really, it's that serious." Yes it was that serious. Hurricane Sandy hit us with a mighty Mike Tyson TKO punch Monday night. I remember when I first got scared and became worried. As I was napping on my sofa in the living room, I heard a loud bang on my window behind me. When I opened my eyes, I saw Freddy Kruger laughing at me on my television screen. The wind and rain was pounding on my window. I looked out my window and saw the tree that is in front of my house began to sway. My heart jumped to my throat clogging my air waves. I quickly turned to the news to get an update. At 7 pm Sandy didn't hit landfall yet and we were already seeing her tormenting us. I sat on my love seat, not wanting to be near my sofa by the large window, hugging and rocking myself, as my son was in his room playing his PS 3 and my mother was sleeping in a bedroom. I went into his room to let him know that we may lose electricity so make sure all of his electronics are fully charged as I did the same thing. As the night went on the "unthinkable storm" got worse. I heard limbs of trees falling on the roof and trees falling all around. It sounded like a war zone outside my door. I didn't sleep that night. I began to hear about people losing electricity. I began to pray. At that point that's all I could do. I never prayed so hard and so long in my life. I kept praying for family and friends but mainly of individuals stories I would hear on the news concerning lost of life and lost of their homes. Then I heard of the news in New York where hospitals lost power and had to transport their patients to other area hospitals but had a hard time because of the flooding and had to remove the patients one by one down stairways. Then it was the story of a house that was on fire but firefighters couldn't get to the house because of the high waters, down trees and power lines. So the fire began to spread burning down hundreds of homes in New York. Photos of Hurricane Sandy in New York

By Tuesday morning, October 30th, Hurricane Sandy had sped up her demented anger. I never lost electricity nor did my lights flicker through her anger. But as the sun rose I saw the tearful and heart drenching image of her remains. What I saw angered me to the fullest. I'm not a violent person but I wanted to split Hurricane Sandy's neck, gut her like a fish then burn her until her ashes are no more. She left thousands my Jerseyans without homes in South Jersey. She demolished the Jersey Shore lit it was a piece of garbage, flinging it into the Atlantic Ocean. She caused the Atlantic Ocean to reshape New Jersey separating lands and drowning towns. I even saw the strength of her power when a tanker ship toss on land miles from the ocean. Fifty foot of Atlantic City's boardwalk was ripped up. I never imagined the magnitude of this storm. I didn't think it would be this bad but it was. My mother and I walked outside to survey the damage. Trees were pulled form the roots in the yards in surrounding areas and there was also a tree that fell in front of my car. Thankfully, my car wasn't damaged. But my heart and thoughts was with those who weren't very fortunate. Where homes once stood, there is now a vacant lot or a crumbled house. Where there once was streets and roads, it's now flooded with water, sand, trees and down wires. Where there were train tracks, there are nor rocks and debris because the tracks were lifted and scattered in Jersey, or maybe New York or floating in the Atlantic Ocean. I didn't sleep again that night because I kept praying for my Jerseyans and New Yorkers.  Photos of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey

But by Wednesday, October 31st, I experienced something breath-taking. As hardcore, unbeatable New Jerseyans and New Yorkers are, people began to move on with their lives. I saw neighbors helping each other clean front yards and clear road ways. Little by little people was getting electricity and babies were being born in hospitals and homes, bringing forth new life. That Northern hope began to take presence. New Jerseyans and new Yorkers were not backing down. We began to fight back with our hope and faith.

Toady, Thursday, November 1st, I now see people going back to work. Children are still out of school, thousands are still without electricity and miles and miles of cars are lining up for gas because 80% of gas stations in New Jersey doesn't have power. But we're still alive Hurricane Sandy!!!! We're stronger than you!! We may have to rebuild and it may take a many months or years but you didn't win. In two weeks electricity will be restored and by Thanksgiving we will have more to be thankful for. By Christmas, the magic of New Jersey and New York will be felt and seen all over the world. New Year's Day, we will leave all things behind only to look ahead to the summer months at the Jersey Shore, shows in Atlantic City, our mini Las Vegas. A year from Monday, October 29th, we will look back at the destruction but smile brighter and bigger because we rose back on top.

But until then......we have work to do and it WILL GET DONE.