To date, I have not heard of anyn African-American-oriented television network (BET, Bounce, Aspire, TV One, or Song of the South) having a children’s television block.
I find it rather sad that there is a dearth of African-American lead characters in children’s, teen’s or YA television, or at lest not enough to fill a morning or afternoon block on these television channels, particularly because of a lack of presence for characters to which young African-Americans can relate, or be inspired, or find character narratives which they can follow with avid interest.
But really, if television channels which talk of catering to an African-American audience are not building a gallery of titles aimed toward children within this mandate, then what room does any person have to bemoan the state of self-esteem among African-American youth, or of education, or of culture?
So I’m posting this list to raise awareness of television series which should be considered for inclusion in any of these channels’ hypothetical, nonexistent children’s/teen’s blocks:
- Static Shock
- Gullah Gullah Island
- The Famous Jett Jackson
- That’s So Raven
- Corey in the House
- A.N.T. Farm
- Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids
- The Proud Family
- Little Bill
- True Jackson VP
- Men in Black: The Series
- Mister T
- The Super Globetrotters
- The Jackson 5 Cartoon
- Class of 3000
- Reading Rainbow
And heck, I’ll even throw in an import from South Africa: URBO: The Adventures of Pax Afrika, as well as an obscure, realistic-without-being-offensive web series titled Blokhedz.
I purposefully exclude the following:
- live-action “family” sitcoms which only focus on the goings-on of a family (there’s plenty of those nowadays).
- animated sitcoms which are aimed toward an adult audience, content-wise (i.e., The Boondocks and The P.J.’s).
- animated action series which are aimed toward an adult audience, content-wise (i.e., Afro Samurai and the short-lived Black Panther)
After those are excluded, one has too look through much of the post-1970 history of animated and live-action children’s television just to find such shows as listed above. Maybe those who take the depiction of African-American lead characters seriously might use the above viewing list as a starting point.