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  1. 1. Hair Nah After getting tired of people putting their hands in her hair, Momo Pixel decided to create Hair Nah. This video game has you play as a Black woman traveling between three destinations — Osaka, Havana, and Santa Monica Pier. Throughout the game, players have to try preventing white hands from swooping in to touch your character’s hair. This is an issue that Black women talk about a lot, so the game ended up going viral. You can check out a video of Black women playing it below! 2. Sasha Says Brought to you by Atlanta-based duo Adrian McDaniel and Tremayne Toorie, Sasha Says combines “Simon Says” and “Bop-It” to create a gaming experience that’s perfect for kids. “We felt like it was very important for Black youth to be able to see a Black mascot, especially a Black female mascot, in games,” McDaniel told The Washington Informer. “That isn’t something you get to see very often and we also thought it was important to inspire Black youth to maybe get into development.” 3. Matatu Developers Terry Karungi, Daniel Okalany, Jasper Onono, and Guy Acellam all worked together to bring Matatu, a two-player Ugandan card game, to your phone. The app was immensely popular in Uganda. Back in 2013, the Daily Monitor reported that it had been in the top three most played games in Google Play in Uganda. 4. Treachery In Beatdown City If you’re a fan of fighting games and bringing a little bit of comedy into the experience, you’re going to love Treachery In Beatdown City. Developed by independent games and culture studio, Nuchallenger, the game’s plot centers around saving President Blake Orama from the Ninja Dragon Terrorists he’s been kidnapped by. The game isn’t out yet, but its release date is set for sometime before the end of the year. Until then, you can watch a trailer below. 5. B’Bop and Friends Created by Grefonda Hardy and her daughter Noelle Hardy, B’Bop and Friends is an educational video game that helps children with their reading and writing skills. The game features two male and two female characters whom all have their own storylines. Each character has their own room where they can participate in games and activities that enhance players’ reading skills. B’Bop and Friends also has multiplayer games including tennis and basketball. afrotech.com
  2. 6. Swimsanity! Brothers Khalil and Ahmed Abdullah founded independent game studio Decoy Games. Together, they’ve released Swimsanity! — a multiplayer underwater shooter game. The game will be available on Nintendo Switch, PC, PS4, and Xbox One sometime this summer. 7. SweetXHeart What originally started in 2014 as an independent project turned into something much bigger. With Catt Small’s SweetXHeart (pronounced sweetheart), players are challenged to get through the week as Kara, a 19-year-old from the Bronx. Small describes SweetXHeart as a “slice-of-life-game about microaggressions, race, and gender.” 8. BLeBRiTY With Jesse Williams’ BLeBRiTY, players are tested on their knowledge of Black culture in a charade inspired game. The game boasts over 25 genres, including “HBCUs,” “Momma Phrases,” and more. “We decided to stop waiting and start building. By creating the experiences we like, we’ve tapped into our own cultural zeitgeist, which is so often the source material for pop culture at large,” Williams said, according to Vibe. “BLeBRiTY is an uproariously funny, creative event where everyone can play, learn and laugh their a**es off! We don’t wait to be included anymore, we build and include ourselves.” 9. Black Inventors Match Game Created by, Dr. Leshell Hatley, Black Inventors Match Game is the first mobile app designed to teach Black history that specifically targets kids. Kids follow best friends, Myles and Ayesha, to learn who invented the patents for items like doorknobs, traffic lights, and more. Kids also have their memories tested with a matching game. 10. For The Culture Developed by Ark Creative Company — this app aims to celebrate Black culture by putting a modern spin on charades. For The Culture has over 20 categories, including Celebrities, Historical Figures, and more. Watch a trailer for the app below! afrotech.com
  3. African Americans make up a significant demographic of video gamers, the second largest ethnic group to play, after Asian Americans. Yet, there is a paucity of African Americans in the video game industry. Only 2.5% of game developers are of color. This means that not only are African American tech professionals missing out on obtaining some of the coolest jobs ever, but also there has been an issue with the stereotyping and negative portrayals of black characters in games. As Evan Narcisse, writing for gaming site Kotaku, points out, “When I think about black characters and visions of black life in video games that resonated with me–whether it’s Adewale or Aveline from the Assassin’s Creed games–I have to reckon with the idea that there was very likely no black person making decisions about those characters.” While scarce, there are some black people doing some amazing work in the gaming industry. If you dream about a career in making video games, you will want to know about these top 10 black people in the gaming industry. Andrew Augustin Augustin is the founder and creative director of Notion Games L.L.C.. He is also a Black Entrepreneur Modern Man. Before launching his own company, he worked for Edge of Reality as a character designer, and then as a world-builder for Sims 3 Pets for Xbox 360 and Play Station 3. Gordon Bellamy Bellamy started his career as a lead designer for EA’s Madden franchise. He also served as executive director of the International Game Developers Association. He recently co-founded Hangry Studios, a consulting firm focused on quality assurance and automation for PC, mobile, and virtual reality games. Morgan Gray Gray has been in the video game industry for quite some time. He’s worked on a number of best-selling games including Tomb Raider, Star Wars, and The Bureau: XCOM Declassified. Derek Manns: Manns is the founder of Sungura Games. In an interview with Black Enterprise he said his company, “is primarily African American and is steady.” He offered this advice for those seeking a career in video games, “Those looking to join gaming, make sure you’re good at math. Also, look into schools that offer gaming in undergrad.” Dennis Mathews Mathews is a game developer and founder of Revelation Interactive Game Development. He went to school initially for aerospace engineering but then went on to study game design. Mathews is also a developer for Terrific Studios L.L.C. Marcus Montgomery Montgomery was lead game designer at Glu Mobile. He is also the founder of WeAreGameDevs.com–a platform for supporting diversity in the gaming industry. He made news recently by modifying a black Barbie doll into a game developer doll for his wife who is also a game developer. Joseph Saulter Saulter is the founder of Entertainment Arts Research Inc. a leader in the video game industry. He is the chairman of the International Game Developers Association’s Diversity Advisory Board and the author of a series of game design and development textbooks published by McGraw-Hill. Laura Teclemariam Teclemariam works as a senior product manager for gaming and entertainment giant EA. She graduated with a degree in electrical engineering/computer science from the University of California, Irvine. Lisette Titre ACG artist and computer animator Lisette Titre has contributed to some of EA’s highest profile games, including Tiger Woods Golf for Nintendo’s Wii, The Simpsons, and Dante’s Inferno. Karisma Williams Williams is creative director of Matimeo.com and works at Microsoft as a senior experience developer/designer for Xbox Kinect, which lets players interact with video games without the use of a controller. blackenterprise.com
  4. This is a list of black video game characters. The 2009 study "The virtual census: representations of gender, race and age in video games" published by the University of Southern California showed that African Americans appear in video games in proportion to their numbers in the 2000 US census data, but mainly in sports games and in titles that reinforce stereotypes. Characters 50 Cent of 50 Cent: Bulletproof and 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand Adam Hunter of Streets of Rage Afro Samurai of Afro Samurai Aisha of Rumble Roses and Rumble Roses XX Alyx Vance of Half-Life 2 (mixed Black-Asian descent) Anthony Higgs of Metroid: Other M Augustus Cole of Gears of War Aurelia Hammerlock of Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel Aveline de Grandpré of Assassin's Creed Axel Foley of Beverly Hills Cop Ayme of Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean Balrog of Street Fighter Bangalore of Apex Legends Baptiste of Overwatch Barret Wallace of Final Fantasy VII Basilio[6] of Fire Emblem Awakening Beatrix LeBeau of Slime Rancher Big Smoke of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Birdie of Street Fighter (black only in the Alpha and V series) Black Baron of MadWorld Blacker Baron of Anarchy Reigns Black Panther, appeared in various games; see Black Panther (comics)#Video games Blade, appeared in various games; see Blade (comics)#Video games Bo Jackson, appeared in various games; see Bo Jackson#Video games Boman Delgado of Rival Schools: United by Fate Brad Garrison of Dead Rising Bruce Irvin of Tekken Bryan Roses of Killer Is Dead Carl "CJ" Johnson of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Charles Milton Porter of BioShock 2: Minerva's Den Charles Smith of Red Dead Redemption 2 Clementine of The Walking Dead Coach of Left 4 Dead 2 Cyborg, appeared in various games; see Cyborg (comics)#Video games Cyrax of Mortal Kombat Crying Wolf of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Daisy Fitzroy of BioShock Infinite Daley Thompson, three Ocean Software games; see Daley Thompson#After athletics Dandara of Dandara D'arci Stern of Urban Chaos Darrius of Mortal Kombat David Anderson of Mass Effect Dee Jay of Street Fighter Demoman of Team Fortress 2 Disco Kid of Punch-Out!! Doc Louis of Punch-Out!! Donald Anderson (DARPA Chief) of Metal Gear Solid Doomfist of Overwatch Drebin 893 of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots Dudley of Street Fighter Eddie Hunter (aka Skate, aka Sammy Hunter) of Streets of Rage 2 Eddy Gordo of Tekken Elena of Street Fighter Eli Vance of Half-Life Emmett Graves of Starhawk Fortune of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Fran of Final Fantasy XII Franklin Clinton of Grand Theft Auto V Garcian Smith of Killer7 Grace of Fighting Vipers Heavy D! of The King of Fighters Henry and Sam of The Last of Us Iris of Pokémon Black and White Irving Lambert of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell Isaac Washington of The House of the Dead: Overkill J.D. Morrison of Devil May Cry 5 Jacob Taylor of Mass Effect Jacqui Briggs of Mortal Kombat Jade of Mortal Kombat James Heller of Prototype Jax of Mortal Kombat Jeffry McWild in Virtua Fighter Jim Chapman of Resident Evil Outbreak Josh Stone of Resident Evil 5 John Dalton of Unreal II: The Awakening Julius Erving (aka Dr. J) of One on One: Dr. J vs. Larry Bird Kai of Mortal Kombat Kendl Johnson of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Kenneth J. Sullivan of Resident Evil Kid Quick of Punch-Out!! Knox of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare LaShawn and Kahlil of Bébé's Kids Laurence Barnes (aka Prophet) of Crysis Lee Everett of The Walking Dead Lenny Summers of Red Dead Redemption 2 Leroy Smith of Tekken Liam Kosta of Mass Effect: Andromeda Lifeline of Apex Legends Lincoln Clay of Mafia III Lisa Hamilton of Dead or Alive Lieutenant Alphanso Adams of Spec Ops: The Line Louis of Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2 Lucian of League of Legends Lúcio of Overwatch and Heroes of the Storm Lucius Fox, appeared in various video games; see Lucius Fox#Video games Lucky Glauber of The King of Fighters Luke Cage (aka Power Man), appeared in various games; see Luke Cage#Video games Mace Windu of Star Wars Episode I: Jedi Power Battles and Lego Star Wars Mad Jack of Heavy Rain Madd Dogg of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Marcus Holloway of Watch Dogs 2 Marcus Howard of Call of Duty WW2 Marina of Splatoon 2 Mark Kimberley of Shenmue Mark Wilkins of Resident Evil Outbreak Marlow Briggs of Marlow Briggs and the Mask of Death Marvin Branagh of Resident Evil Master Raven of Tekken Master Sergeant Matthew "Coops" Cooper of ARMA 2 Matt of Until Dawn Matt of Wii Sports Michael Jackson, appeared in various games; see Michael Jackson-related games (Michael Jackson's health and appearance) Michael Jordan in Michael Jordan in Flight and Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City Michael LeRoi of Shadow Man (video game) Mike Tyson, appeared in various games; see Mike Tyson in popular culture#In video games Mr. Sandman of Punch-Out!! Maya of Killer Instinct Mohammed Avdol of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure Nadine Ross of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End Nathan Copeland of No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle Nick Fury, appeared in various games; see Nick Fury in other media#Video games (Not always black.) Nilin of Remember Me Nix of Infamous 2 OG Loc of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Qhira of Heroes of the Storm Raven of Tekken Riley Abel of The Last of Us Rochelle of Left 4 Dead 2 Rodin of Bayonetta Roland of Borderlands Romeo of Halo 3: ODST Sam B of Dead Island Samuel Williams of Desperados: Wanted Dead or Alive Sazh Katzroy of Final Fantasy XIII SCAT member Collins of Night Trap Sean Johnson of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Sean Matsuda of Street Fighter III Sergeant Cormack of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Sergeant Foley of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 Sergeant Major Avery Junior Johnson of Halo Shadow Man of Shadow Man Shaquille O'Neal (aka Shaq), appeared in various games; see Shaquille O'Neal#Video games Sheva Alomar of Resident Evil Shinobu Jacobs of the No More Heroes series Sir Hammerlock of Borderlands 2 Staff Sgt. Griggs of Call of Duty Storm, appeared in various games; see Storm in other media#Video games Tanya of Mortal Kombat Taurus of Interstate '82 Three Dog of Fallout 3 Tiger Jackson of Tekken T.J. Combo of Killer Instinct Tilly Jackson of Red Dead Redemption 2 Tom Johnson of Shenmue Torque of The Suffering Twintelle of Arms Tyler Miles of Fahrenheit Tyrael of Diablo III Vanessa Lewis of Virtua Fighter Victor Vance and his brother Lance Vance, of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Vivienne, of Dragon Age: Inquisition War Machine, appeared in various games; see War Machine in other media#Video games Wonder-Black of The Wonderful 101 Yelena Fedorva of Deus Ex: Human Revolution Zach Hammond of Dead Space Zack of Dead or Alive Zasalamel of Soulcalibur wikipedia.org
  5. Video games have also had an effect on the ability of racial minorities to express their identities online in semi-protected environments. The limited constraints in regards to character design in multiplayer games, such as Minecraft, allow video game players to alter their outer appearance in game to match their real life appearance as closely as they choose. wikipedia.org
  6. There have been a number of controversies surrounding race and video games, including public debates about Resident Evil 5, Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization, Left 4 Dead 2, BioShock Infinite, World of Warcraft, and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Video games may influence the learning of young players about race and urban culture. The portrayal of race in some video games such as the Grand Theft Auto series, Custer's Revenge, 50 Cent: Bulletproof, and Def Jam: Fight for NY has been controversial. The 2002 game, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was criticized as promoting racist hate crimes. The game takes place in 1986, in "Vice City", a fictionalized Miami. It involves a gang war between Haitian and Cuban refugees which involves the player's character. However, it is possible to play the game without excessive killing. The 2009 game Resident Evil 5 is set in Africa, and as such has the player kill numerous African antagonists. In response to criticism, promoters of Resident Evil 5 argued that to censor the portrayal of black antagonists was discrimination in itself. In 2008, the release of Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Colonization was controversial for giving players the ability to colonize the Americas. For some critics, like Ben Fritz, the game was 'offensive' since it allowed players to do “horrific things .. or whitewash some of the worst events of human history.” Fritz wrote, “the idea that 2K and Firaxis and Sid Meier himself would make and release a game in the year 2008 that is not only about colonization, but celebrates it by having the player control the people doing the colonizing is truly mind boggling.” Firaxis Games' president Steve Martin responded by pointing out how “the game does not endorse any particular position or strategy—players can and should make their own moral judgments.” There was significant backlash against Ben Fritz on online forums and blogs, with gameplayers talking about how colonization has always happened, and this is just realism. Others talked about how colonization and racism are two different things. Rebecca Mir and Trevor Owens write about how 'The game is undoubtedly offensive, but it would be impossible to create a value-free simulation of the colonial encounter. ... if there is something regrettable about the game in its current state, it is that it is not offensive enough. While the game lets you do some rather evil things, those evil things are nevertheless sanitized versions of the events that actually took place in reality.' Ken White says 'Empire-building games always involve conflict — often violent — with other people, and the more sophisticated ones almost always depict stronger groups overcoming weaker groups. Many involve religious or cultural conversion of some sort. Many permit digital genocide, with your little nation of abstractions defeating another little nation of abstractions mercilessly. ... While the graphics, gameplay detail, and level of abstraction vary widely, they all come down to build, manage, conquer, and destroy.' Media theorist Alexander Galloway, in his book, Gaming: Essays on Algorithmic Culture argues about how these kinds of games are always an “ideological interpretation of history” or the “transcoding of history into specific mathematical models.” wikipedia.org
  7. Through interactive gameplay, players learn about race through the types of characters that are portrayed in the virtual reality. The way racial groups are portrayed in video games affects the way video game players perceive defining characteristics of a racial group. The presence or absence of racial groups affects how players belonging to those racial groups see themselves in terms of the development of their own identity and self-esteem. The idea of portraying different races is not something entirely new in the history of video games. Early games, including some MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, featured multiple playable (fictional) races that the player could choose from at the beginning of the game. Compared to the research on gender stereotyping, fewer studies have examined racial stereotyping in video games. Light skin tones are seen as the default skin color for many games. The portrayal of racial minorities in video games has been demonstrated to have a tendency to follow certain racial stereotypes. A study by the Children Now organization in 2001 noted that of the 1,716 video game characters analyzed, all Latino characters "appeared in a sports-oriented game, usually baseball." 83% of African-American males were portrayed as competitors in sports-oriented games, while 86% of African-American females were either "props, bystanders, or participants in games, but never competitors." Research by Anna Everett and Craig Watkins in 2007 claims that since then, the number of black and Latino characters has increased with the rising popularity of "urban/street games," while their portrayal has remained consistently narrow. In the action/shooter genre of urban/street games, both blacks and Latinos are typically portrayed as "brutally violent, casually criminal, and sexually promiscuous." The protagonist of the Just Cause series, Rico Rodriguez, is Hispanic, as is 'Ding' Chavez, protagonist of Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six. In the sports genre, blacks are typically portrayed as "verbally aggressive and extraordinarily muscular and athletic." African Americans are represented as aggressive or athletic characters more often than as protagonists or heroes. In a 2009 survey of 150 games across nine platforms, University of Southern California Professor Dmitri Williams "found that fewer than 3 percent of video game characters were recognizably Hispanic and none were playable. Native Americans and biracial characters were non-existent. Though, Native Americans have been the protagonists of several video games, most notably in the Turok series, and in the 2006 title Prey. African Americans enjoyed a rate of 10.74 percent, with a big caveat; they were mostly athletes and gangsters." In a study that examined the top 10 most-highly rated games for each year from 2007–2012, Ithaca College graduate Ross Orlando found that "black and Asian characters each have 3 percent representation in the pool of main protagonists; Latino a mere 1 percent." In 2015, Pew Research Center found that 35% of blacks, 36% of Hispanics, and 24% of whites surveyed believe that minorities are portrayed poorly in video games. The range of playable characters in certain gaming contexts has an overtly racial component. Some have argued that the high proportion of black male characters in sports video games (according to David J. Leonard, 80% of black male video game characters as of 2003 were sports competitors) have enabled (predominantly white male) gamers to practice what Adam Clayton Powell III refers to as "high-tech blackface", a digital form of minstrelsy that allows white players to effectively 'try on' blackness without being forced to acknowledge or confront the degrading racist histories surrounding minstrelsy. The potential for video games as a site for promulgating reductive, racist tropes has prompted many to point out the use of yellowface, or "the donning and using of the "yellow" body by whites" to degrade and invisiblize Asian characters in a variety of games as well. Anthony Sze-Fai Shiu argues that the Duke Nukem 3D series (including Duke Nukem 3D and its spiritual sequel Shadow Warrior) enable the gamer to identify strongly with the protagonist, due to the first-person perspective employed by the games. "These characters, then, establish a scenario where the player's control over virtual embodiment demands critical decisions concerning subjective investments in the games’ scenarios and narratives. As such, both Duke Nukem 3D’s and Shadow Warrior's speculations concerning white subjectivity and yellowface performance call for an investigation into the value of performing as a racial other for the sake of game play." wikipedia.org
  8. A 2014-2015 report published in 2016 by the International Game Developers Association found that people of color were both underrepresented in senior management roles as well as underpaid in comparison to white developers. Gaming convention organizer Avinelle Wing told Newsweek, "The industry has an even bigger problem with race than it does with gender.” Many have pointed out that this lack of diversity within the industry has contributed to a lack of representation within video games themselves. Dennis Mathews, a game designer at Revelation Interaction Studios, suggests that the exclusion of non-white game developers leads to stereotyping within video game development and marketing. Developer prejudices impact who counts as a game's target audience, leading many developers to pigeonhole or ignore non-white gamers. As Mathews puts it, "Those stereotypes tie into publisher decisions of what games get picked up and what should be put into games." The Game Developers Conference, a popular annual video game conference frequented by both industry and players, runs an "Advocacy Track" to "address new and existing issues within the realm of social advocacy. Topics covered range from diversity to censorship to quality of life." While initially started in 2013 to address issues around gender and gaming, the "Advocacy Track" features panels explicitly interested in improving diversity in gaming more broadly, including concerns around race. One of the earliest pioneers in the gaming industry was African-American engineer Jerry Lawson, who helped develop the first cartridge-based home video game console. Other people of African descent in gaming include industry executive Gordon Bellamy. Notable Hispanics in the gaming industry include John Romero, co-creator of Doom, often called the first true "first-person shooter." wikipedia.org
  9. There are mixed results on the demographics of people who play video games. While one study mentions that African American and Hispanic children make up the majority of video game players, a study by Pew Research Center finds that 73.9% of white children play video games compared to 26.1% of nonwhite children. The Pew Research Center found that 19% of Hispanic respondents and 11% of Black respondents described themselves as "gamers," compared to 7% of Whites. Another report by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that African American and Hispanic youth ages 8–18 spend more time with video games on average than White youth. Nielsen survey research found similar results. In her work, Adrienne Shaw describes how the gamer identities of players intersect with identities of gender, race, and sexuality. Another Pew study showed that 89% of Black teens play video games, as well as 69% of Hispanic teens. In addition, white and Hispanic teen gamers were 'more likely than blacks to report feeling angry while playing online.' wikipedia.org
  10. The relationship between race and video games has received substantial academic and journalistic attention. Game theory, based on Johan Huizinga's Homo Ludens, argues that playing video games provides a way to learn about the world. Games offer opportunities for players to explore, practice, and re-enforce cultural and social identities. Video games predominantly created and played by one racial group can unintentionally perpetuate racial stereo-types and limit players' choices to preconceived notions of racial bias. wikipedia.org
  11. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is an American sitcom television series created by Quincy Jones, Andy and Susan Borowitz, that originally aired on NBC from September 10, 1990 to May 20, 1996. The series stars Will Smith as a fictionalized version of himself, a street-smart teenager from West Philadelphia who is sent to move in with his wealthy uncle and aunt in their Bel Air mansion after getting into a fight in his hometown. However, his lifestyle often clashes with the lifestyle of his upper-class relatives. It ran for 148 episodes over six seasons. Summary The theme song and opening sequence set the premise of the show. Will Smith is a street-smart teenager, West Philadelphia "born and raised". While playing street basketball, Will misses a shot and the ball hits a group of gang members, causing a confrontation that frightens his mother, who sends him to live with his wealthy aunt and uncle in the opulent neighborhood of Bel Air, Los Angeles. Will's working class background ends up clashing in various humorous ways with the upper class world of the Banks family – Will's uncle Phil and aunt Vivian and their children, Will's cousins: spoiled Hilary, entitled Carlton, and impressionable Ashley. The premise is loosely based on the real-life story of the show's producer Benny Medina. Development In 1990, music manager Benny Medina, along with his business partner, real estate mogul Jeff Pollack, decided to market a TV story based on Medina's life. Medina had grown up poor in East Los Angeles but his life changed when he befriended a rich white teenager, whose family lived in Beverly Hills and allowed Medina to live with them. Medina decided to use this part of his life as the main focus of the show. However, given that by then a black character living with a white family was a concept that had been done multiple times on TV, Medina decided to change the rich white family to a rich black family. "That way we could explore black-on-black prejudice as well as black class differences", Medina said in an interview for Ebony magazine. Medina pitched the idea to Quincy Jones, who had just signed a TV deal with Time-Warner. Jones was impressed by the idea and arranged a meeting with NBC chief Brandon Tartikoff. Will Smith was well known by then as his music career as The Fresh Prince had put him on the mainstream radar, but he had come into debt after failing to pay taxes. At the suggestion of his then-girlfriend, Smith went to a taping of The Arsenio Hall Show where he met Medina by chance. Medina pitched the idea to Smith, but Smith was reluctant, having never acted before. Medina invited Smith to meet Jones at a party that Jones was throwing at his house in December 1989. There, Jones handed Smith a script for a failed Morris Day pilot that he had produced and challenged Smith to audition for Tartikoff on the spot. Smith did so, and the first contract for the show was drawn up that night in a limo outside. Three months later, the pilot was shot. The pilot episode began taping on May 1, 1990. Season 1 first aired in September 1990, and ended in May 1991. The series finale was taped on Thursday, March 21, 1996, and aired on Monday, May 20, 1996. The theme song "Yo Home to Bel Air" was written and performed by Smith under his stage name, The Fresh Prince. The music was composed by Quincy Jones, who is credited with Smith at the end of each episode. The music often used to bridge scenes together during the show is based on a similar chord structure. Crossovers and other appearances During the fall 1991–1992 season, NBC gained two hit television shows to anchor their Monday night lineup (Blossom aired immediately after The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air). To gain popularity between the two shows, Will Smith appeared in the Blossom episode "I'm with the Band" as himself under his rap stage name, The Fresh Prince. That same season, Karyn Parsons appeared in the Blossom episode "Wake Up Little Suzy" as Hilary Banks. Parsons also appeared in the Patti LaBelle sitcom Out All Night as Hilary. In the House and Fresh Prince were both executive-produced by Winifred Hervey, David Salzman and Quincy Jones. During the second season's first episode, Alfonso Ribeiro and Tatyana Ali appeared as their Fresh Prince characters (Carlton and Ashley Banks) in the crossover episode "Dog Catchers". Later that season, James Avery (Phillip Banks) appeared as a mediator in the episode "Love on a One-Way Street". In the Season 4 episode "My Pest Friend's Wedding", James Avery and Daphne Maxwell Reid (the second Vivian Banks) guest starred as Dr. Maxwell Stanton's parents (Stanton was played by Ribeiro). Both Avery and Reid portrayed the parents of Ribeiro's Fresh Prince character. Joseph Marcell, who played the wisecracking Geoffrey Butler on Fresh Prince, appeared as an officiating minister in the same episode. wikipedia.org
  12. Martin is an American television sitcom that aired for five seasons on Fox from August 27, 1992, to May 1, 1997. It starred Martin Lawrence as Martin Payne, Tisha Campbell as his girlfriend and eventual wife Gina, Thomas Mikal Ford as Tommy, Carl Anthony Payne II as Cole, and Tichina Arnold as Pam. Lawrence also played several other characters. Reflecting the rising popularity of the Fox network throughout the 1990s, Martin was one of the network's highest-rated shows during the sitcom's run. Premise Set in Detroit, Michigan the series stars Martin Lawrence in the role of Martin Payne, a disc jockey with his girlfriend Gina Waters (Tisha Campbell). Martin works for the fictional radio station WZUP and later for local Public-access television station Channel 51. A common theme of the series is Martin's selfish and free-spirited nature. Episodes often center on Martin's inappropriate behaviors and incessant smart mouth towards his friends, neighbors, and whoever else finds themselves in his presence. When all is said and done, however, Martin loves his family and friends—it just takes dire situations for him to show it. As the series progressed, plotlines saw Martin eventually move on to become the host of the talk show Word on the Street, which aired on the small Detroit public-access television station Channel 51. He retained this position until the series' final episode, in which he and Gina prepared to move to Los Angeles, from where his show would be syndicated nationally. The move coincided fortuitously with Gina's promotion by her boss Mr. Whitaker to head up his company's new Los Angeles headquarters, after having shut down the Detroit office. Gina's best friend Pam, whom Whitaker let go two episodes earlier due to this consolidation and downsizing, went on to pursue a career in the music industry as an artists & repertoire (A&R) executive at Keep It Real Records. (This plotline is the subject of a backdoor pilot episode that was included in the Martin series for a planned sitcom on Fox starring Tichina Arnold to be called Goin' for Mine (Episode 129, "Goin' for Mine"). This sitcom never materialized, however.) And at series' end, Cole proposed to his even more dimwitted, but attractive and devoted girlfriend Shanise (portrayed by Maura McDade), and they made plans to move into their own place. The only actor to appear in every episode as the same character is Thomas Mikal Ford as Tommy. In early episodes, Lawrence began with a monologue of him speaking directly to the camera and audience from the darkened radio studio. In 1997, Tisha Campbell filed a lawsuit against her co-star Martin Lawrence and the show's producers for sexual harassment and verbal and physical assaults, and she did not appear in most of the season five episodes. The explanation in most of the episodes Campbell did not appear in was that Gina was "out on business", though in the two-part episode "Going Overboard" it was stated that Gina had arrived too late to board the boat for the trip alongside everyone else. HBO Studios eventually settled the case with Campbell so that the show's last season could be completed. Campbell did return to the Martin set to film the two-part series finale of the show under the condition that she would not share any scenes with or interact in any way with Lawrence. In the episode, Martin and Gina kept entering and exiting the sets at different times and the storyline was adjusted so that the characters were both part of it but never crossed paths. Main characters Martin Payne (Martin Lawrence) Martin, the title character, is a caring family man deep down, but on the outside a very macho, selfish smart aleck. Martin carries himself in a typical urban youth manner, with modern expressions and mannerisms. His girlfriend turned wife, Gina Waters, has sometimes tried to change him (much to his anger, seeing as he likes the way he acts), but this rarely worked. Martin is not much of a physical fighter despite trying to come off as such. He has a particularly antagonistic relationship with Gina's best friend Pam. Gina Waters-Payne (Tisha Campbell), Martin's professional, fun-loving, eternally romantic and forgiving girlfriend and later wife. She often acts as a peacemaker, admonishing others when they trade barbs and insults and breaking up fights. Gina works for a public-relations firm. She complements Martin's street savvy by serving as a voice of reason. She is also Pam's best friend. Thomas "Tommy" Strawn (Thomas Mikal Ford), one of Martin's best friends. Level-headed, intelligent, and charming, Tommy serves as another voice of reason, especially during Martin's schemes. He would often portray himself as a ladies' man and would flirt with Pam and other women on the show. He had a romantic relationship with Pam during the third and fourth seasons. His mysterious employment status was a running gag on the show. Of all the male characters, he is the only one to have attended college. He is the only character to appear physically in every episode. Cole Brown (Carl Anthony Payne II), Martin's other best friend. Dimwitted but well-meaning and known for his eclectic taste in headgear, Cole proudly cleans jets at the airport for a living, drives an AMC Pacer, and lives with his mother Maddie until early Season Five. For a time in Season 3, Cole appeared to be attracted strictly to plus-sized women and dated a security guard named Big Shirley (who is fully seen in only one episode; another episode only showed "her" below the neck to portray her as being much taller and bigger than Cole). In the final season, after Cole meets Shanise and moves into his own apartment in a rough neighborhood, he dates Shanise, who appears to be even more dimwitted than he is. During the series finale, he becomes engaged to Shanise. Pamela "Pam" James (Tichina Arnold), Gina's sassy and ill-tempered co-worker, best friend and Tommy's girlfriend. Before eventually dating Tommy, Pam was always looking for a good man. Pam worked at the PR firm where she was employed as Gina's assistant. Pam has a very adversarial relationship with Martin. When he insults her, she responds typically via belittling that brings attention to Martin's short stature. Pam has a beautiful singing voice that she displays throughout the show. wikipedia.org
  13. Racial activism has been found in many of professional sports leagues such as the National Basketball Association and the National Football League. National Basketball Association Following the emergence of the Trayvon Martin case, NBA players including LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and other Miami Heat players at the time posed for a picture in hoodies, the outfit that Trayvon Martin was wearing when murdered. In December 2014, Lebron James and other Cleveland Cavaliers including Kyrie Irving wore black t-shirts featuring the quote "I CANT BREATHE" following the death of Eric Garner who was put in a choke hold by a New York police officer. Since then, Lebron James has been in public disputes Via Twitter and Instagram, shaming Donald Trump and news analyst Laura Ingraham who openly told LeBron James to "shut up and dribble", suggesting that Lebron is only good for his athletic abilities. Lebron then went and turned that slogan "Shut up and dribble" into the Title of his Showtime Series that aired in October of 2018. The show focuses on athletes who are shifting the narrative of what it means to be a black athlete in the sense that nowadays more and more athletes are speaking up on political and racial topics going on in the Unites States. National Football League Former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, claimed to be blackballed by all 32 teams following being released for his on the field protest in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Ads following his release have focused on a simple tagline "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." Hip Hop artist Jay-Z has transitioned from simply making music to being a businessman. In all his efforts, by far the one that has gained the most attention was deciding to join with the NFL in a partnership. In the partnership, Jay-Z (born Shawn Carter) would focus his effort on developing the experience of attending games as well as serve as a front-runner for the NFL and their social justice efforts. Being a huge supporter Colin’s efforts to protest police brutality against the black people of America, Jay-Z became an intermediary between the NFL and the black community. In this role, Carter would be in the best position to influence change in the NFL. Alongside NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Carter has made efforts to make things right in the relationship between Kaeperknick and the NFL by arranging an work out for the former 49ers QB to showcase his talents to all teams in need of a Quarterback. Despite being allegedly blacklisted from all NFL teams due to his silent protest in 2016 during the National anthem, Colin Kaeperknick has continued to work out and stay prepared to accept a position as a Quarterback for any team. In 2019, Kaeperknick and the NFL agreed to hold a workout session to showcase Kaepknick’s talents as a competitive Quarterback and potential Superbowl contender. Many disagreements about the transparency of the workout and accusations that Kaeperknick simply wants to manipulate the situation for profit circulate around social media. Kaeperknick remains without a team despite many teams' need for a Quarterback. wikipedia.org
  14. Racial differences in the NFL are also evident between player positions as well. According to an Undefeated article, In 1999 the percent of white players who played the center position was 75% compared to 20% African American. Also in 1999, the percent of white players who played the quarterback position was 81% compared to 18% who was African American. If we fast forward to 2014 the number of players who are white that are playing the quarterback or center position has increased. It could be said that these two positions are two of the most important positions that hold a lot of responsibility of taking care of the football. The high representation of white quarterbacks is not surprising due to the racial stereotypes of quarterbacks. In a study by the University of Colorado, that studied the racial stereotypes of NFL quarterbacks, found, “ that black participants stereotyped both races more strongly...suggesting that black players may not believe they are cut out to be a professional quarterback”. The study goes on to say that, “the terms physical strength and natural ability were more associated with the black quarterbacks while leadership and intelligence was more associated with white quarterbacks". These biases reflect how we watch football players and ultimately impacts adolescents at a young age. According to William Jeynes, a professor of education at California State University, Long Beach, the gathering at the first Thanksgiving in the United States was an attempt to create racial harmony through games and sporting contests that included running, shooting and wrestling. Huping Ling, a professor of history at Truman State University, has asserted that the participation of Chinese students in sports helped break local stereotypes in the St. Louis area during the 1920s. This history of racial tension in the competition between whites and minority groups shows an attempt to prove the humanity, equality, and even occasionally their superiority on the playing field. By doing so, groups of minorities hoped that sports would serve as a source for racial pride that would eventually lead to upward social mobility. However, as early as 1984, criticism has been levied against these ideas. Sports sociologist Harry Edwards openly criticized African Americans as being “co-conspirators” in their own children's exploitation by the white dominated sports establishment. Despite the perception of a white dominated sports establishment, research has shown that there is greater emphasis on sports as a potential career path in the African American community compared to the White community. Edwards continued by arguing that placing so much emphasis on sports achievement as a way for minority groups, specifically referring to African Americans, to achieve some level of prominence is de-emphasizing the importance of intellectual pursuits. Despite the conflicting perceptions of sports as a harmonizing instrument, many researchers still believe that not much has changed to alleviate the racially tense landscape many believe to be inherent in current day society. wikipedia.org
  15. Referring to quarterbacks, head coaches, and athletic directors, Kenneth L. Shropshire of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has described the number of African Americans in "positions of power" as "woefully low". In 2000, 78% of players in the NBA were black, but only 33% of NBA officials were minorities. The lack of minorities in positions of leadership has been attributed to racial stereotypes as well "old boy networks" and white administrators networking within their own race. In 2003, the NFL implemented the Rooney Rule, requiring teams searching for a new head coach to interview at least one minority candidate. With an inadequate number of minorities in executive positions in the NFL, the NFL decided to revise the Rooney Rule to include teams to interview minorities for general manager positions. There has been backlash on how effective this rule has been and if there needs to be more revisions to this rule. As recent as 2019, there are only four minority head coaches representing NFL teams: Ron Rivera, Mike Tomlin, Brian Flores, and Anthony Lynn. Because of racial discrimination, which AAP News & Journal defines as, “a form of social inequality that includes experiences resulting from legal and nonlegal systems of discrimination”, it has resulted in unequal outcomes and a power struggle. A vast majority of the representation of minority coaches are held at positional or assistant coaches. With a lot of people [minorities] competing for head coaching positions with only a limited supply, it allows the very few minority head coaches to get handsomely salaries while the rest get average or low pay. Not only are finances an issue, the talent that is being presented is ultimately looked over because minorities coaches are not being hired and the NFL is meeting their status quo, of at least interviewing minorities for head coaching and general manager positions. Social networks also play a big role in how coaches are hired. With the recent hirings of coaches like Sean McVay and Kliff Kingsbury, according The Undefeated writer, Jason Reid, black assistants told him that, “It’s crushing that someone with such an unimpressive resume could ascend to the top of their business merely because his background is on offense…”. The power dynamics between the owners and players in the NFL has created racial inequality between the two groups. 30 owners are white while only two owners are of color (one is from Pakistan and one is Asian American). Richard Roth, sports attorney who has represented Peyton Manning, claimed, “22 of the teams in the NFL have been owned by the same person or family for at least 20 years”. Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sports, claimed, “Who owners invite into their fraternity-and its overwhelmingly a fraternity-is self-selective”. Owners of teams must be very wealthy as teams “Cost upwards of $1B”. Due to wealth inequality in the United States, there are few black billionaires who could be potential candidates. Furthermore, from a social class standpoint, it is very difficult for there to be a black owner as “very few black people are part of these billionaires’ boys’ clubs”. Many of the racial problems shown in sports are present because of the lack of diversity in ownership. The predominant presence of white male owners in sports drives a wedge between members of the organization. The narrative portrayed by ownership in sports paints the same picture of slave and owner from 400 years ago. Draymond Green, Power forward for the Golden State Warriors, ignited debates on the relationship between team ownership and players. In 2017, Green stated that the NBA should really consider the term “owner” and its usage dating back to chattel slavery, considering the majority of NBA players are black and nearly all team ownership is white. This has been a fact virtually the entire history of sports organizations. In 1994, Black people accounted for 80% of the NFL players, 65% of the NBA players, and 18% of the MLB players, but less than 10% of the Team owners. 25 years later, the percentage of black athletes and team owners has not changed much with Black people accounting for 70% of the NFL players, 81% of the NBA players, and 8% of the MLB players. Team ownership is still below 10%. However, one thing that changed with time is the term for ownership in the NBA. In efforts to be politically correct, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has declared that the organization will no longer use the term “owner” and will now refer to owners as governors and partial owners as alternate governors. Aside from a lack of black owners, owners make hundreds of times what the players make. This is similar to the NFL disparity between owners and the players. According to a report by the Green Bay Packers, the NFL earned $7,808,000 from TV deals, and split it among its 32 teams evenly. This means that each NFL owner “made $244m last year in 2016”. By contrast, the “average NFL player made $2.1 in 2015”. The owners of these teams are making hundreds of times what the players are. This is similar to the difference in pay between CEOs and average workers of corporations. Professor Pfeffer, a social inequality professor at the University of Michigan, claimed, “CEOs make more than 350 times what the average worker makes”. The work of the owners is not hundreds of times more valuable than that of the players. However, it is the power dynamics and politics of the league structure that allow owners to make so much more. In a pre-season game against the San Diego Chargers, Colin Kaepernick, a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, chose to kneel instead of standing in solidarity with his teammates for the National Anthem. He did this to raise awareness for victims of police brutality and oppression of minorities in America. Many people believe believe Kaepernick is a hero for raising awareness for important social issues. However, his actions caused a massive backlash by fans and the media who decried him for acting anti American and disrespecting American troops. Furthermore, players from other teams began to kneel instead of stand with the national anthem. When questioned by the media, he claimed, “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.” He continued, ““If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right,” he says.” According to NFL policy, “There is no rule saying players must stand during the national anthem”. Kaepernick’s act caused many other players to also stand during the national anthem. Bob McNair, owner of the Houston Texans, claimed, “They can’t have the inmates running the prison” during a meeting with owners and no current players. After the meeting finished, Troy Vincent, former cornerback for the Miami Dolphins, claimed, “In all my years of playing in the NFL, I have been called every name in the book, including the N-word-but never felt like an inmate”. Many players took to social media to protest the racist rhetoric of Bob McNair. Richard Sherman tweeted in response, “I can appreciate ppl being candid. Don’t apologize! You meant what you said. Showing true colors allows ppl to see you for who you are”. Damon Harrison Sr. tweeted, “...Did that wake some of y’all up now?”. Similar to the discrepancy between participation and leadership of blacks in American professional sports leagues, NCAA sports also have had a low percentage of administrators and coaches relative to the number of athletes. For example, during the 2005–2006 academic year, high revenue NCAA sports (basketball and football) had 51 percent black student athletes, whereas only 17 percent of head coaches in the same high revenue sports were black. Also, in the same 2005–2006 year, only 5.5 percent of athletic directors at Division I "PWIs" (Primarily White Institutions), were black. Terry Bowden, a notable white Division I football coach, suggests that the reason many university presidents will not hire black coaches is "because they are worried about how alumni and donors will react." Bowden also refers to the "untapped talent" existing within the ranks of assistant coaches in Division I football. The data backs up this claim, with 26.9 percent of Division I assistant coaches during the 2005-06 year in men's revenue sports being black, a notably higher percentage than of head coaches. In terms of administrative positions, they have been concentrated largely in the hands of whites. As recently as 2009, 92.5 percent of university presidents in the FBS were white, 87.5 percent of athletic directors were white, and 100 percent of the conference commissioners were white. Despite these statistics, black head coaches have become more prevalent at the FBS level. As of 2012, there are now 15 black head coaches in FBS football, including now 3 in the SEC, a conference that did not hire its first black head coach until 2003. wikipedia.org
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