A couple of weeks ago, Centric TV announced it would target all its programming toward black women. Of course, my first reaction is one of glee. Television channels do not cater to black women exclusively, so it’s great that a black network recognizes black women as an important demographic in terms of audience. However, I do have reservations about the programming.
Centric has been around a few years, so technically it isn’t a startup network or netlet. It already has an audience and hopefully it will expand that audience. However, I hope that representations of black women expand with it. I expect reruns of black female favorites such as Living Single, Girlfriends and Single Ladies as well as the possibility of classics like Julia and Get Christy Love. The old movies may also become weekend staples for a while as the network gets its legs.
But what I’m hoping is that Centric will take this as an opportunity to expand its talent pool and hire black women who need the opportunity but do not get it at other networks. For instance, it took an extensive social media campaign to get one black woman hired on Saturday Night Live, which also resulted in getting black women writers for the show. What Centric has now is a golden opportunity to use a number of rising talent on the Internet to grow its base and provide more exposure to women who already have devoted fan bases. These are a few suggestions for Centric:
Mine YouTube for Comedy
Two words on this front: Pia Glenn. Glenn is not only a talented performer, but she also knows how to put together a show. Her “Black Weekend Update” segments are incredible for their comedy as well as their professional editing and social commentary. Furthermore, the different characters she performs are insanely hilarious. Imagine how much more she can do with more resources and others working with her to put together a sketch show.
There are also other shows that many of us have watched on YouTube that could thrive on a network home. For instance, The Unwritten Rules has its own base. The many shows of Black and Sexy TV can also provide good material to the network.
Mine the Podcasts
Podcasts have become a great source for entertainment, social commentary and other thoughts on current affairs. Grabbing some of the talent from podcasts not only gives Centric the opportunity to present a variety of views on several issues as well as insight on the pop culture landscape. My favorite is Nerdgasm Noire Network for its mix of nerd fun and black female perspective on pop culture.
Other podcasts such as Black Girl Nerds also gives many artists a platform they usually might not have. This one also works because it is presented as a talk show. Cinema in Noir fills a void as it has been quite some time since there has been a film review show from a black female perspective. Podcasts such as Black Girls Talking and Blackwashed not only discuss current events but also the issues that have constantly followed the black community.
Hire Public Intellectual Figures from Twitter
Seriously, hire Janet Mock to do a show. She could probably run a current affairs show like no one’s business. There are many other black women on Twitter, many who do not consider themselves as activists or intellectuals but still do the work, who could use a platform to reach a wider audience. Just to name a few: Mikki Kendall, Moya Bailey and Mia McKenzie. Give these women a platform of their own to provide much needed missing perspectives on the issues that directly affect us. And while we’re at it:
Bring Back Video Soul
Or at least feature a regular music show on the network. So many artists are struggling on the Internet to break through the clutter and noise of label-supported artists. Quite frankly, I miss the days when BET showed videos practically all day with Video Soul, Video Vibrations, Rap City and Midnight Love. A music show could give more attention to artists such as Denitia Odigie, Imani Coppola, Res, Ebony Bones, Kelela and a host of others who do music beyond the Clear Channel-approved genres.