Date of Award

May 2018

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Media Studies

Advisor(s)

Anne Osborne

Keywords

ABC, Black culture, Black-ish, Culture Industry, Diversity in Television, Sitcoms

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

Diversity in television in film is an ongoing debate. The recent exclusions of minority-led television shows and films from award shows like the Emmys and Oscars have ignited complaints and debates from inside and outside the entertainment industry. Some networks responded with more inclusive programs and diverse cast leads and cast members. In 2013, Paul Lee, former ABC executive, introduced a diversity initiative that was a part of a rebranding strategy for the network, and to show different experiences in America. The initiative resulted in three new shows for the 2014-2015 season: Black-ish, Fresh Off the Boat, and Cristela. All shows featured minority leads and predominately minority casts. However, diversity is about more than just placing minorities in leading roles. There needs to be a showcase of the different cultural backgrounds, and experiences of different minority groups. That includes discussing racism, significant cultural events, and minorities’ interactions with one another and the majority White community.

Sitcoms are a part of the culture industry. According to Adorno, the culture industry exists solely to sell products and a lifestyle. In addition to that, sitcoms are designed to make the world simple and laughable. Also, sitcoms are not designed to evoke deep thought or conversations amongst the viewers that serious subjects like racism may result in. Sitcoms are in direct conflict with the goal of the diversity initiative. This research focuses on Black-ish, and how it shows diversity from the Black American perspective, and seeing how the culture industry may or may not influence the execution of the diversity initiative.

Keywords: Black-ish, culture industry, ABC, diversity in television, stereotypes, Black culture, sitcoms, sitcom formula

Access

Open Access

Share

COinS
 
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.