Sunday, November 17, 2013

The cancelling of Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell

Every time I think of the fact that Totally Biased has been cancelled, I get a little teary-eyed. I will miss it sooooo much. 

For one thing, it was a way to see my son, who lives a thousand miles away, every day. I didn't even have television before he got his own show. Oh, I had a television monitor, but I used it to watch the DVDs I rented from Netflix. The few television shows I wanted to see--Bill Moyers Journal, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart--I watched online. But when Totally Biased started in August 2012, I ordered cable. Not only would I watch as it was telecast, but I watched each show repeatedly on On Demand.

I enjoyed so much the Totally Biased perspective on the news, but I learned a lot as well. I learned the difference between Sikhs and Sheiks (although I did know that Sikhs were not Muslims); and the difference between sex and gender. 

I loved "No More Mr. Nice Gay" and everything Hari Kondabolu did. And Citizen Dwayne Kennedy said exactly what I would have said in the Civil War re-enactment and the touching of black hair segments. The street interviews were absolutely wonderful as well as being hilarious.

Moving a show that's just getting established from one to five days a week and then sending it off to a brand-new network that nobody could find was NOT smart. Anoosh Jorjorian explains the foolishness of it better than I can. 

Like my son, however, I am grateful that FX gave thousands more people a chance to discover his unique talent. As this  journey ends, we begin a new one.  Life is full of unexpected turns; that's why it's so exciting.

What is THE black community?

A few months ago when Dr. Dre gave the University of Southern California (USC) $35 million, he was roundly denounced by a number of black folk. Walter Kimbrough, president of an historically black university, Dillard University, explained his misgivings in this column. Dr. Kimbrough makes some compelling points, but still I was left with some questions. These are questions I've had before and will no doubt have again, but I'm sharing them here to see if anyone has any answers.

What is THE black community? 


Who belongs to it?


Is the criteria for membership determined by the individual, or by the group?


Is it possible to create a "community" out of a group of people because they have been oppressed on the basis of their skin color?


What if Dr. Dre considers himself a member of another community?


Do black people have a right to expect certain behavior from other blacks any more than whites have a right to expect certain behavior from us?