You read that right: Black Girls need to take over more comedy in the media. We have black female comediennes and black sitcoms featuring black women, but we need to have a ton more black female scriptwriters in the industry—especially in comedy.

As a female, black nerdy student in TV and film studies, I get a bit sore knowing there aren’t enough black women creating comedic content, something I aim to change. To say there aren’t any black women in these roles would be ignorant, as I know there are, but we need more prominence. I’m sick and tired of what passes for comedy these days by standards white feminists set, and it’s getting worse by the day.

On Sunday, March 13, I witnessed a barely D-list celebrity, 37-year-old Julie Klausner attack 19-year-old actress/activist Zendaya on her body size and tried to pass it off for both comedy and for the good of feminism. No honey. I tweeted Klausner my sentiments, and, of course, she only focused on the tweet where I said she was attacking Zendaya not for the reasons of “protecting little girls” but to further her standing in the “Feminist White Woman Comedian Club.” I held my own and managed to tell her what was good without nary an insult to her appearance nor her show, Difficult People, despite it being awfully unfunny. But I did question her on why she claimed to be standing up for little girls yet her character made a pedophile rape joke about Blue Ivy. She found it acceptable. “Don’t apologize for comedy,” she tweeted. It’s something made acceptable by her predecessors. She sees it’s fine for Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Chelsea Handler, et al. to use the feminist title and attack as long as they yell “girl power” in the end.

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Sleepy-Hollow-Sins-of-Father-screencap-Abbie
Nicole Beharie as Abbie Mills in Sleepy Hollow

We need to take over, because as long as they stand up there like Hillary Clinton hitting the whip—fake and full of it—black girls and other women of color will always be thrown under the bus for the punch line. The way we can change that is by getting more black female writers in all genres, because we know how to write us better than anyone else, and we can’t rely on non-black POC women to write us. We’re always written as the single best friend, the angry one, the martyr, the sassy advice giving sage, the prop for the titular white girl, and even if a black girl is the main character, we’re still written pretty badly. I’m sure everyone reading this article has seen or heard by now about what happened with the TV series Sleepy Hollow. A show that I was rooting for since the beginning, that I stuck with past the sucky second season and made myself watch to support a black female lead, and in the end, they repaid Nicole Beharie and the rest of fans with a bad send off because they refused to write her character correctly. In the show Twisted the came on a few years ago on ABC Family, they treated the main black female lead the same way, and the show was supposed to be promising (two POC leads in a relationship). But it started to focus on the white girl best friend. The show eventually drove right off a cliff into confusion and was eventually cancelled.

You would think TV networks and their writers and producers would learn by now. The only reason The Vampire Diaries is still hanging by a thread with most of its POC viewers is because they finally started to treat its black female lead character Bonnie Bennett better than other seasons where she was always the sacrifice or getting nearly killed.

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Now I am aware someone will read this and put on their “black people already have hypervisibility!” goggles, thinking I mean we need an increase of black lead shows. Not the case at all. I write scripts myself, and not all of my characters are black or black women; some of my creations don’t have any black characters in it. But the difference is that I write characters without a predisposition to treat them like disposable human livestock for the sake of propping up their white peers. It’s also not a guarantee that a black writer will take the best care in writing black characters and other POC characters, so I urge people to get to know narratives of others.

 

LaurenNashWritten by Lauren Nash