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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
  16. In 1961, the "Caucasians only" clause was struck from the Professional Golfers' Association of America constitution. Throughout the game's history, golf has not included many African-American players, and they were often denied the opportunity to golf. However, many found a way to play the game anyway. According to an article by the African-American Registry titled African-Americans and Golf, a Brief History, “the Professional Golf Association of America (PGA) fought hard and until 1961, successfully maintained its all-white status. Black golfers (then) created their own organization of touring professionals.” Tiger Woods has had a major impact on the game of golf, especially among minorities. The article, African-Americans and Golf, a Brief History, states “With the ascent of Tiger Woods and his golf game comes an increased interest and participation from young minorities in the game. He himself envisions this impacting in the next ten years as they come of age and develop physically as well." Woods hopes minority participation will continue to increase in the future. The research surrounding descriptions employed about White and Black athletes in the media and how the stereotypes of Black athletes has affected Tiger Woods in a majority white sport, because Tiger Woods was the only Black golfer on the PGA tour, he received different comments related to black stereotypes that the other golfers on the tour did not. African American participation in golf has been increasing. In a journal titled African American Culture and Physical Skill Development Programs: The Effect on Golf after Tiger Woods, it says “Smith (1997) reported data from a National Golf Foundation (NDF) study in the United States indicating there are 676,000 African-American golfers (2.7% of the 24.7 million golfers)." As African-American participation increased, Asian participation in professional golf has also increased. According to an article by Golfweek titled Record Number of Asian Golfers Compete for Masters Glory, there were 10 golfers which was a tournament record. According to the article Where are all the black golfers? Nearly two decades after Tiger Woods’ arrival, golf still struggles to attract minorities, As of 2013 there were 25.7 million golfers which are composed of 20.3 million whites, 3.1 million Hispanics, 1.3 million African-Americans, and 1 million Asian-Americans. The lack of diversity is still very apparent in golf today. wikipedia.org
  17. Black players participated in the National Football League from its inception in 1920; however, there were no African-American players from 1933 to 1946. There is a great deal of speculation as to why this “gentleman’s agreement”, as it came to be called, was implemented during this era. Some argue that it was purely because of the Great Depression. Jobs were difficult to come by, and thus race relations became increasingly strained as African-Americans, and other minorities, became perceived as “threats”. Finally, in 1946, the Los Angeles Rams broke this unofficial “agreement” and drafted Kenny Washington along with Woody Strode in the same year. The final NFL team to break this agreement was the Washington Redskins, who signed Bobby Mitchell in 1962. In October 2018, George Taliaferro, the first African American who played in the NFL died at the age of 91. While George was the first African American drafted to play in the NFL, the first African American would not be drafted as the Quarterback until 1953, when Willie Thrower was drafted to play with the Chicago Bears. It wouldn't be for another 14 years, 1967, until the first African American, Emlen Tunnell, would be elected for the NFL Hall of Fame. wikipedia.org
  18. Although Japanese-American Wataru Misaka broke the National Basketball Association's color barrier in the 1947–48 season when he played for the New York Knicks, 1950 is recognized as the year the NBA integrated. That year African-American players joined several teams; they included Chuck Cooper with the Boston Celtics, Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton with the New York Knicks, and Earl Lloyd with the Washington Bullets. In another example from an interview with NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar he states "For people of color, professional sports has always been a mirror of America’s attitude toward race: as long as black players were restricted from taking the field, then the rest of black Americans would never truly be considered equal, meaning they would not be given equal educational or employment opportunities."Jabbar played in the NBA for 20 seasons dating back to 1969. Equality on the court will never be equal but it has vastly improved. Race discrimination will always be an issue for the NBA. wikipedia.org
  19. The color line, also known as the color barrier, in American baseball excluded players of black African descent from Major League Baseball and its affiliated Minor Leagues until 1947 (with a few notable exceptions in the 19th century before the line was firmly established). Racial segregation in professional baseball was sometimes called a gentlemen's agreement, meaning a tacit understanding, as there was no written policy at the highest level of organized baseball, the major leagues. But a high minor league's vote in 1887 against allowing new contracts with black players within its league sent a powerful signal that eventually led to the disappearance of blacks from the sport's other minor leagues later that century, including the low minors. After the line was in virtually full effect in the early 20th century, many black baseball clubs were established, especially during the 1920s to 1940s when there were several Negro Leagues. During this period Native Americans, and native Hawaiians (e.g. Prince Oana) were able to play in the Major Leagues. The color line was broken for good when Jackie Robinson signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers organization for the 1946 season. In 1947, both Robinson in the National League and Larry Doby with the American League's Cleveland Indians appeared in games for their teams. By the late 1950s, the percentage of black players on Major League teams matched or exceeded that of the general population. Covert efforts at integration While professional baseball was formally regarded as a strictly white-men-only affair, the racial color bar was directed against black players exclusively. Other races were allowed to play in professional white baseball. One example was Charles Albert Bender, a star pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1910. Bender was the son of a Chippewa mother and a German father and had the inevitable nickname "Chief" from the white players. As a result of this exclusive treatment of black players, deceptive tactics were used by managers to sign African Americans, including several attempts, with the player's acquiescence, to sign players who they knew full well were African American as Native Americans despite the ban. In 1901, John McGraw, manager of the Baltimore Orioles, tried to add Charlie Grant to the roster as his second baseman. He tried to get around the Gentleman's Agreement by trying to pass him as a Cherokee named Charlie Tokohama. Grant went along with the charade. However, in Chicago Grant's African American friends who came to see him try out gave him away and Grant never got an opportunity to play ball in the big leagues. On May 28, 1916, British Columbian Jimmy Claxton temporarily broke the professional baseball color barrier when he played two games for the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League. Claxton was introduced to the team owner by a part-Native American friend as a fellow member of an Oklahoma tribe. The Zee-Nut candy company rushed out a baseball card for Claxton. However, within a week, a friend of Claxton revealed that he had both Negro and Indigenous Canadian ancestors, and Claxton was promptly fired. It would be nearly thirty more years before another black man, at least one known to be black, played organized white baseball. There possibly were attempts to have people of African descent be signed as Hispanics. One possible attempt may have occurred in 1911 when the Cincinnati Reds signed two light-skinned players from Cuba, Armando Marsans and Rafael Almeida. Both of them had played "Negro Baseball", barnstorming as members of the integrated All Cubans. When questions arose about them playing the white man's game, the Cincinnati managers assured the public that "...they were as pure white as Castile soap." The African American newspaper New York Age had this to say about the signings: The Negro leagues The Negro National League was founded in 1920 by Rube Foster, independent of Organized Baseball's National Commission (1903–1920). The NNL survived through 1931, primarily in the midwest, accompanied by the major Eastern Colored League for several seasons to 1928. "National" and "American" Negro leagues were established in 1933 and 1937 which persisted until integration. The Negro Southern League operated consecutively from 1920, usually at a lower level. None of them, nor any integrated teams, were members of Organized Baseball, the system led by Commissioner Landis from 1921. Rather, until 1946 professional baseball in the United States was played in two racially segregated league systems, one on each side of the so-called color line. Much of that time there were two high-level "Negro major leagues" with a championship playoff or all-star game, as between the white major leagues. wikipedia.org
  20. The baseball color line, which included separate Negro league baseball, was one example of racial segregation in the United States. In the United States, a study found that a form of racial discrimination exists in NBA basketball, as white players received higher salaries than do blacks related to actual performance. Funk says this may be due to viewer discrimination. Viewership increases when there is greater participation by white players, which means higher advertising incomes. This explains much of the salary gap. Researchers have looked at other evidence for sports consumer discrimination. One method is comparing the price of sports memorabilia, such as baseball cards. Another is looking at fan voting for all-star teams. Still another is looking at willingness to attend sporting events. The evidence is mixed, with some studies finding bias against blacks and others not. A bias, if it exists, may be diminishing and possibly disappearing, according to a study on fan voting for baseball all-star teams. Major League Baseball Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play a major league game on April 15, 1947. Jackie loved the sport of baseball but that wasn't his only goal to make the majors. He wanted to make a way for more African Americans to join the league. However with struggles of people being racist in the stands, players spouting off racial slang words to other players or fans, etc. Jackie wasn't discouraged to the hate as he was not only one of the best African American to play the game but one of the best in the history of baseball. Jackie's legacy stands to this day as he might have past, but his actions and courage inspires young athletes today. Blacks in American baseball Year Major leagues Population Ratio 1945 2% 10% 1:5 1959 17% 11% 3:2 1975 27% 11% 5:2 1995 19% 12% 3:2 The under-representation of blacks in U.S. baseball ended during the early years of the civil rights movement. The representation of different races in Major League Baseball has been increasing since 1947 according to Mark Armour and Daniel R Levitt of the Society for American Baseball Research. According to their research, African American representation reached its peak in 1984 when it reached 18.4%. However, the African American representation has been steadily decreasing since that point. As of 2016, the African American representation was down to 6.7%. According to Armour and Levitt, the Latino representation has been steadily increasing since 1947. That year, the representation was only at 0.7%. Since that time, the Latino representation in baseball has increased substantially. As of 2016, the Latino representation was at 27.4%. Asian American representation in baseball has been much less abundant throughout the game's history according to Armour and Levitt. Their representation in the Major League did not get over 1% until 1999 when their representation was at 1.2%. While the representation is increasing, it is doing so significantly slower than the other races. As of 2016 Asian American representation was only at 2.1%, a small increase from 1999. According to Armour and Levitt, Whites make up the largest portion of the different races represented in the Major League. However, their representation has been steadily declining as the African American, Asian, and Latino representation has been steadily on the rise. The Society for American Baseball research shows that white representation was at 98.3% in 1947. Since then, representation has decreased to 63.7% in 2016. In a journal titled Using Giddens's Structuration Theory to Examine the Waning Participation of African Americans in Baseball, it says “Numerous studies have shown that African-American youths are more likely than Whites to be encouraged and even directed to play basketball over other sports." wikipedia.org
  21. "Black athletic superiority" is the theory that black people possess certain traits that are acquired through genetic and/or environmental factors that allow them to excel over other races in athletic competition. Whites are more likely to hold these views; however, some blacks and other racial affiliations do as well. A 1991 poll in the United States indicated that half of the respondents agreed with the belief that "blacks have more natural physical ability". Various theories regarding racial differences of black and white people and their possible effect on sports performance have been put forth since the later part of the nineteenth century by professionals in many different fields. In the United States, attention to the subject faded over the first two decades of the twentieth century as black athletes were eliminated from white organized sport and segregated to compete among themselves on their own amateur and professional teams. Interest in the subject was renewed after the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and Jesse Owens's record-breaking performances at the 1935 Big Ten Track Championships. Regarding Jesse Owen's impressive four-gold medal performance in the following 1936 Olympics, the then U.S head coach remarked that “The Negro excels. It was not long ago that his ability to sprint and jump was a life-and-death matter to him in the jungle. His muscles are pliable, and his easy going disposition is a valuable aid to the mental and physical relaxation that a runner and jumper must have.” In 1971, African-American sociologist Harry Edwards wrote: "The myth of the black male's racially determined, inherent physical and athletic superiority over the white male, rivals the myth of black sexual superiority in antiquity." Later in 2003, in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, the JBHE Foundation published an article where they pushed back against this idea of a “black gene” leading to black superiority in athletics, a concept referred to here as “Racist Theory”. The JBHE contended that “If there is a “black gene” that leads to athletic prowess, why then do African Americans, 90 percent of whom have at least one white ancestor, outperform blacks from African nations in every sport except long distance running?” John Milton Hoberman, a historian and Germanic studies professor at the University of Texas at Austin, has acknowledged that disparities in certain athletic performances exist. He was also an author to many articles and books, mainly stating facts about the impact of cultures. He has asserted that there is no evidence to confirm the existence of "black athletic superiority". wikipedia.org
  22. Various individuals, including scholars and sportswriters, have commented on the apparent overrepresentations and underrepresentations of different races in different sports. African Americans accounted for 75% of players in the National Basketball Association (NBA) near the end of 2008. According to the latest National Consortium for Academics and Sports equality report card, 65% of National Football League players were African Americans. However, in 2008, about 8.5% of Major League Baseball players were African American (who make up about 13% of the US population, 6.5% male, no women play in MLB), and 29.1% were Hispanics of any race (compared with about 16% of the US population). In 2015, only about 5% of the National Hockey League (NHL) players are black or of mixed black heritage. NCAA sports have mirrored the trends present in American professional sports. During the 2005–2006 season, black males comprised 46.9 percent of NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and 58.9 percent of NCAA Division I basketball. The NCAA statistics show a strong correlation between percentage of black athletes within a sport and the revenue generated by that sport. For example, University of North Carolina's 2007–2008 men's basketball team (the team was 59% black relative to the 3.7% black population of the institution as a whole) generated $17,215,199 in revenue, which comprised 30 percent of the school's athletic revenue for the year. Given NCAA rules prohibiting the payment of players, some have come to see the structure of NCAA athletics as exploitative of college athletes. Some believe that since black athletes comprise a high percentage of athletes in high revenue college sports (FBS football and Division I Men's basketball), they are therefore the biggest losers in this arrangement. Billy Hawkins argues that "the control over the Black male's body and profiting off its physical expenditure is in the hands of White males." His position refers to a very high percentage of Division I universities controlled by white administrations that prosper greatly from the free labor produced by the revenue sports that are heavily populated by black athletes. This claim is substantiated by statistics, such as the 2005–2006 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in which games started, and minutes played for black athletes were over double that of their white counterparts, with 68.7 percent of scoring in the tournament coming from black players. wikipedia.org
  23. What's Love Got to Do with It? (1993) Image via Buena Vista Pictures Director: Brian Gibson Stars: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Khandi Alexander, Cora Lee Day, Jenifer Lewis, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Chi McBride, Richard T. Jones Inspired by Tina Turner and Kurt Loder's book, I, Tina, What's Love Got to Do With It? tells the legend's life story, from her upbringing in Tennessee to the moment she crossed the threshold to stardom. Born Anna Mae Bullock, Turner (Angela Bassett) realizes her dream to be a professional singer, thanks to the charming Ike Turner (Laurence Fishburne). Their relationship quickly becomes romantic and they wed, rocketing to fame as Ike and Tina Turner. But when Ike grows jealous of Tina's place in the spotlight, he takes his anger out on her physically, savagely beating her. As Ike descends deeper into drug use, his behavior worsens, as do the beatings, but Tina puts her best face forward for the public. She fights back, eventually divorcing Ike and winning the right to keep her stage name—essentially, her independence. With the help of producer Roger Davies, she goes on to become the icon she's recognized as today—without Ike. Loosely based on actual events and sharing the title of one of Turner's biggest solo hits, What's Love Got to Do With It? is powered by the performances of Bassett and Fishburne. The former portrays Turner with the strength that's come to be known as her trademark. Take the limo scene, where Ike and Tina trade blows before she asks Ike, before pouncing on him, "Is that your best shot?" Fishburne’s Ike is a possessive man ruined by drug addiction and excess. In the infamous "Eat the cake" scene, a stoned Ike mushes cake all over Tina's face, humiliating her in front of a diner full of people, showing no remorse. Bassett and Fishburne, reunited following their appearances in Boyz n the Hood, both earned Academy Award nominations for their performances, and Bassett scored a Golden Globe, all of which were well deserved. Boomerang (1992) Image via Getty Director: Reginald Hudlin Stars: Eddie Murphy, Robin Givens, Halle Berry, David Alan Grier, Martin Lawrence, Bebe Drake, Chris Rock, Eartha Kitt, Grace Jones, John Witherspoon, Lela Rochon, Melvin Van Peebles Karma is vicious, so watching a womanizing ad man simultaneously meet his match and his comeuppance has to be entertaining, right? Right. In Reginald Hudlin's Boomerang, the arrogant Marcus Graham (Eddie Murphy) beds women with no remorse—until he's introduced to his new boss, Jacqueline (Robin Givens). She's a man-eater who devours Marcus whole and spits out everything except for his heart, which she crushes in the palm of her hand. Because Marcus is essentially following Jacqueline to his demise, he overlooks bubbly art department employee Angela (Halle Berry), but only temporarily. Once Jacqueline sees that Marcus' interest has gone elsewhere, she reels him right back in. This leaves Marcus forced to decide between the genuine love he feels for Angela and the lust that Jacqueline uses to manipulate him. To this point, Boomerang revealed a valuable life lesson: sometimes you have to face yourself and see the undesirable characteristics within to become a better person. Music played a huge part in Boomerang's success. The soundtrack is objectively amazing, but it's also important to the film. Toni Braxton's "Love Shoulda Brought You Home" was ripped right from the script, echoing Angela's frustration with Marcus and his issues with commitment. Hell, her "Love should've brought your ass home last night!" line inspired the song. P.M. Dawn's "I'd Die Without You," is sung from Marcus' point of view, struggling as he discovers that Jacqueline has turned the tables on him and that Angela is the one he needs. Plus, Grace Jones appears as an exaggerated version of herself, and her Strangé commercial is essentially a visual depiction of how Yeezus sounds. Friday (1995) Image via New Line Cinema Director: F. Gary Gray Stars: Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long, Bernie Mac, Tiny "Zeus" Lister, Jr., John Witherspoon, Anna Maria Horsford, Regina King, Paula Jai Parker, DJ Pooh, Faizon Love, Tony Cox After directing a few of Ice Cube's videos, F. Gary Gray struck gold with his first feature film, the cult-classic comedy Friday. Cube plays Craig, who's experiencing a long weekend after getting fired from his job, for allegedly stealing boxes. (Is this ever confirmed? Does it even matter?) Anyway, his pothead friend, Smokey (Chris Tucker), has a remedy for the situation: get high, because it's Friday and there's nothing better to do. Little does Craig know that Smokey, possibly the worst low-level drug dealer ever, has goaded him into getting high on his own supply when he's already in debt to Big Worm (Faizon Love). They spend the day trying to raise the $200 Smokey owes Big Worm, all the while avoiding hulking neighborhood bully Deebo (Tiny "Zeus" Lister, Jr.) and trying to keep a close eye on everyone's dream girl, Debbie (Nia Long). Friday doesn't force a deep message down your throat, the plot isn't intricate, and a great portion of the film takes place on Craig's front porch. But the characters carry this movie and make it a classic. The loud, animated Smokey provides constant comic relief; Debbie is that around-the-way girl that every dude covets; and Craig is the laid-back hero who knocks the neighborhood bully the fuck out and gets the girl in the end. It's your average Friday in the hood, except this one is endlessly quotable and has infinite replay value. complex.com
  24. Soul Food (1997) Image via 20th Century Fox Director: George Tillman, Jr. Stars: Vanessa L. Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Nia Long, Michael Beach, Mekhi Phifer, Brandon Hammond, Irma P. Hall, Jeffrey D. Sams, Gina Rivera Soul Food is all about the importance and strength of family. Set in Chicago, it's the story of an extremely close-knit clan told through the eyes of Ahmad (Brandon Hammond), who enjoys his family's tradition of a large Sunday evening meal at family matriarch Big Mama's (Irma P. Hall) house. Although they’re close, the family still has their issues, which are amplified when Big Mama suffers a stroke and falls into a coma. Without her wisdom, inner turmoil begins to tear the family apart, but Ahmad works to unite them once again in what could be the final opportunity to make Big Mama proud. Despite his youth, Ahmad seems to be the only one who never loses sight of that bigger picture. The concept of family is very important to the black community, and Soul Food preaches this to near-perfection, emphasizing the notion that "it takes a village to raise a child." Tillman, Jr.'s film also strikes a nerve with viewers because many of them observe striking resemblances to their own families. Chances are, you will, too. Boyz n the Hood (1991) Image via Columbia Pictures Director: John Singleton Stars: Cuba Gooding, Jr., Ice Cube, Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long, Angela Bassett, Tyra Ferrell, Regina King John Singleton's debut Boyz n the Hood examines the difficulties young black men face growing up in urban environments damaged by drugs and violence. Mainstream media was largely unaware, uninterested, or too afraid to touch on what was going on in these places, but Singleton was not. His debut follows Tre Styles (Cuba Gooding Jr.), a good kid, thanks to lessons instilled in him by his father (Laurence Fishburne). He has a job and both he and his girlfriend Brandi (Nia Long) are college bound. His friend Ricky (Morris Chestnut) is a highly coveted running back with the opportunity to attend USC on an athletic scholarship; Ricky's half-brother Doughboy (Ice Cube) is a street-smart criminal who's often the target of his mother's ire, a reflection of her feelings about his father. Over a short period of time, Tre's life begins to unravel due to factors he has no control over. Boyz N the Hood and Kendrick Lamar's major label debut album good kid, m.A.A.d city are cut from the same cloth. Both deal with the grim realities that a bright, properly raised black teenager can face, through no fault of his own. Like Kendrick Lamar, Tre Styles is just a product of his environment attempting to navigate the madness. Both works of art also deal with loss. In Boyz N the Hood, the surviving characters—and the audience—are forced to deal with Ricky's tragic death, which is particularly gut-wrenching when coupled with revelation that he got the required SAT score to qualify for the scholarship. Written and directed by Singleton, who was fresh out of USC at the time, the film was nominated for two Oscars—Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. Singleton was both the youngest person and the first African-American ever to be nominated for Best Director. In the film's final scene, Doughboy and Tre talk the morning after Ricky's death has been avenged, and an insightful Doughboy delivers the line that defines the film: "Either they don't know, don't show, or don't care about what's going on in the hood." They didn't—until John Singleton made this film. The Five Heartbeats (1991) Image via Green Lighthouse Director: Robert Townsend Stars: Robert Townsend, Leon, Michael Wright, Tico Wells, Harry J. Lennix, Hawthorne James, Diahann Carroll, Theresa Randle, Lamont Johnson Actor and director Robert Townsend followed his stinging satire Hollywood Shuffle up with The Five Heartbeats, which follows the rise and fall of a fictional R&B group. Co-written by Townsend and Keenen Ivory Wayans and loosely based on the lives of legendary R&B artists such as The Dells and The Four Tops, the film begins in the early '90s with Donald "Duck" Matthews (Townsend) reminiscing on his time as a member of The Five Heartbeats, along with his brother J.T. (Leon), Terrence "Dresser" Williams (Harry J. Lennix), Anthony "Choir Boy" Williams (Tico Wells), and mercurial frontman Eddie King, Jr. (Michael Wright). The film flashes back to the group's early days in the '60s, long before the Heartbeats would grace the pages of Rolling Stone and be mentioned in the same breath as The Dells or The Temptations. It chronicles their rise to fame, their success, and their eventual dissolution due to inner turmoil. The film is best defined by a scene that's withstood the years. It happens at a singing competition, back when the Heartbeats were just amateurs: the announcer, who happens to be the cousin of rival group Bird and the Midnight Falcons' frontman, forces the group to use a piano player they do not know, just before they're about to perform "A Heart Is A House for Love." The performance is flat, and the crowd voices their displeasure, until Duck pushes the piano player out of the way and begins to play the song as it's intended. Possessed by the moment, Eddie loosens his tie and belts out a note from the depths of his soul, winning the crowd over and reducing Bird's girlfriend (who's seated in the front row) to a puddle. The Five Heartbeats win the competition, their first taste of success. 26 years later and the scene still gives us goosebumps. Despite receiving mixed reviews, The Five Heartbeats was a success on many levels. In addition to succeeding at telling the stories of some of the period's most important groups, it also created a magnetic frontman in Eddie King, Jr. reminiscent of other frontmen from that era. The character incorporated both the charm of Smokey Robinson and the volatile nature of David Ruffin. The Five Heartbeats' legacy lives on through "A Heart Is a House for Love," which was performed specifically for the film by one of its inspirations, The Dells. complex.com
  25. Straight Outta Compton (2015) Image via Universal Pictures Director: F. Gary Gray Stars: O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, Paul Giamatti Straight Outta Compton tells the story of ‘80s gangsta rap group, N.W.A., comprised of Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, MC Ren, DJ Yella, and the late Eazy-E (in the film, Arabian Prince only makes a brief appearance). After teaming up and finding their sound, the crew must navigate their newfound success, shady record company people, and of course police brutality, which led to their smash hit single “Fuck The Police.” But Straight Outta Compton wasn’t just another biopic. It showed that hip hop stories are more than worthy of being on the big screen. And after grossing $161.2 million in the United States and Canada, it revitalized the hip hop biopic, leading to films like All Eyez On Me, about Tupac, and to conversations on which other acts deserve to have their stories told on the big screen. Also, Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr., rocked it in his portrayal of his legendary dad. Love and Basketball (2000) Image via Getty Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Alfre Woodard, Dennis Haysbert, Debbi Morgan, Harry J. Lenix, Kyle Pratt, Boris Kodjoe, Tyra Banks, Regina Hall, Gabrielle Union, Monca Calhoun Sticking to its basketball theme, Love And Basketball is split into four quarters and unfolds like a game. During the first quarter, young Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) and Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) meet when the latter relocates to Los Angeles during the early 1980s. Their antagonistic relationship quickly becomes a friendship due to their mutual love for the sport, but their careers are on divergent paths. Quincy, the son of a former NBA player, becomes a highly-touted college prospect in high school. Monica, meanwhile, struggles to gain attention as her emotions often get the best of her on the court, scaring college scouts away. On prom night, they finally act on their suppressed feelings for one another, leading to a relationship at USC. Once again, Quincy has success from the beginning, while Monica continues to fight for respect and playing time. However, the thin-skinned Quincy is unable to deal with his parents’ dissolving marriage and takes his frustration out on Monica, ending their relationship and prematurely declaring for the NBA draft. During the film's final quarter, Quincy and Monica have gone their separate ways, but are forced to confront their feelings for each other one final time. Quincy and Monica are both driven by their love for each other, as well as their love of, yes, basketball. They both take the same approach to love as they do to the game, playing freely and with reckless abandon. It's worth noting that life changes for them at the end of the third quarter: Quincy, who's had it relatively easy his whole life, is the one who struggles in the fourth quarter, as Monica becomes the star. It's Quincy's difficulties since their breakup that eventually force him to realize that he needs her. Though some moments venture into cheesy territory, Love And Basketball is a layered love story that runs the emotional gamut. Brown Sugar (2002) Image via Getty/New York Daily News Archive Director: Rick Famuyiwa Stars: Taye Diggs, Sanaa Lathan, Mos Def, Nicole Ari Parker, Boris Kodjoe, Queen Latifah, Wendell Pierce Can men and women ever truly be platonic friends? This is the eternal question that director Rick Famuyiwa ponders in Brown Sugar. Dre (Taye Diggs) and Sydney (Sanaa Lathan) have been friends since their childhood days in New York, but there have never been any romantic sparks between the two of them. Dre has become a successful A&R, while Sydney has become editor-in-chief at a hip hop magazine; their friendship has never been tested until Dre gets engaged to Reese (Nicole Ari Parker), an attorney who's the antithesis to Sydney and the wrong woman for him. Suddenly, Sydney realizes that her feelings for Dre may have been stronger than those of pure friendship, even though she's currently being entertained by NBA star Kelby Dawson (Boris Kodjoe). Even though Sydney accepts Kelby's proposal, jealousy between Sydney and Reese reaches a boiling point and, eventually the viewers (and the characters) get what they want: a Dre and Sydney hookup. Brown Sugar is about choices—specifically, are Dre and Sydney making the right ones, personally and professionally? Both characters are forced to decide whether they're willing to devote their lives to people and situations that are externally attractive, as opposed to following their hearts and doing what's instinctively right. It’s obviously a love story, and Dre and Sydney's mutual love for hip hop is as central to the story as their love for each other. Truth be told, hip hop might as well be the third lead character. complex.com
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