Contributions by Eric Pierson, Christine Acham, Michael Boyce Gillespie, Felicia D. Henderson, TreaAndrea M. Russworm, Nghana Lewis, Adrien Sebro, Alfred L. Martin Jr., Briana Barner, Shelleen Greene, Brandy Monk-Payton, Beretta E. Smith-Shomade and Jacqueline Johnson
Published by: Rutgers University Press
252 pages, 156.00 x 235.00 x 18.00 mm, 28 B-W images
Watching While Black Rebooted: The Television and Digitality of Black Audiences examines what watching while Black means in an expanded U.S. televisual landscape. In this updated edition, media scholars return to television and digital spaces to think anew about what engages and captures Black audiences and users and why it matters. Contributors traverse programs and platforms to wrestle with a changing television industry that has exploded and included Black audiences as a new and central target of its visioning. The book illuminates history, care, monetization, and affect. Within these frames, the chapters run the gamut from transmediation, regional relevance, and superhuman visioning to historical traumas and progress, queer possibilities, and how televisual programming can make viewers feel Black. Mostly, the work tackles what the future looks like now for a changing televisual industry, Black media makers, and Black audiences.
Chapters rethink such historically significant programs as Roots and Underground, such seemingly innocuous programs as Soul Food, and such contemporary and culturally complicated programs as Being Mary Jane and Atlanta. The book makes a case for the centrality of these programs while always recognizing the racial dynamics that continue to shape Black representation on the small screen. Painting a decidedly introspective portrait across forty years of Black television, Watching While Black Rebooted sheds much-needed light on under examined demographics, broadens common audience considerations, and gives deference to the preferences of audiences and producers of Black-targeted programming.
Foreword Herman Gray Introduction: I Still See Black People…Everywhere Beretta E. Smith-Shomade Part I: Historicizing Black Chapter 1: Audiences and the Televisual Slavery-Narrative Eric Pierson Chapter 2: History, Trauma, and Healing in Ava DuVernay’s 13th and When They See Us Christine Acham Chapter 3: Thinking about Watchmen: A Roundtable Michael Boyce Gillespie Chapter 4: From Sitcom Girl to Drama Queen: Soul Food’s Showrunner Examines Her Role in Creating TV’s First Successful, Black-Themed Drama Felicia D. Henderson Part II: Attending Black Chapter 5: Gaming as Trayvon: #BlackLivesMatter Machinima and the Queer Metagames of Black Death TreaAndrea M. Russworm Chapter 6: “Trying to Find Relief”: Seeing Black Women through the Lens of Mental Health and Wellness in Being Mary Jane and Insecure Nghana Lewis Chapter 7: On Air Black: The Breakfast Club, Visual Radio, and Spreadable Media Adrien Sebro Part III: Monetizing Black Chapter 8: Black Women, Audiences, and the Queer Possibilities of the Black-Cast Melodrama Alfred L. Martin, Jr. Chapter 9: In A ‘90s Kind of World, I’m Glad I Got My Shows! Digital Streaming and Black Nostalgia Briana Barner Chapter 10: Tyler Perry’s Too Close to Home: Black Audiences in the Post-Network Era Shelleen Greene Part IV: Feeling Black Chapter 11: “I’m Trying to Make People Feel Black”: Affective Authenticity in Atlanta Brandy Monk-Payton Chapter 12: I’m Digging You: Television’s Turn to Dirty South Blackness Beretta E. Smith-Shomade Chapter 13: I Feel Conflicted as F*ck: Netflix’s Dear White People and Re-presenting Black Viewing Communities Jacqueline Johnson Notes on Contributors Index
"Beretta E. Smith-Shomade distinguishes herself, once again, as the premier television studies showrunner with Watching While Black Rebooted! This collection of essays demonstrates that the 'reboot' can be as innovative, probing, and insightful as the original. The rich new chapters—ranging in topics and critical approaches—center Black television and digital culture, reframing our understanding of the racial, social, cultural, and political dynamics that shape Black televisual representation and receptionin our contemporary media landscape. A must-read for must-watch BlackTV."
~Samantha N. Sheppard, author of Sporting Blackness: Race, Embodiment, and Critical Muscle Memory on Screen