I must say, I was pleasantly surprised when I tuned in to the premiere of BET’s miniseries “The Book of Negroes” last night. Frankly, it looked like something BET had taken from another network. When’s the last time we’ve seen something THAT good on BET?
The acting was great, the storyline drew us in, and the overall look and feel of the series was excellent. I especially loved Shailyn Pierre-Dixon, the young actress who played little “Aminata.” I went through a range of emotions: Sorrow, grief, compassion, fear, anger, joy, excitement. I appreciated this show for being able to bring that out of me. But I only had one qualm. And it’s a big one. Can we not be portrayed as slaves in every damn thing? Black people weren’t slaves. We were PEOPLE who were enslaved. We have stories. We have lives before slavery, and we damn sure have lives after slavery. Where are the stories about Black Kings and Queens? Where are the stories about Black millionaires? The Black middle and upper class? Where are our multi-colored, diverse, multi-faceted stories about US?
Though I know better by now than to expect these kinds of stories from other networks, I would hope that I could at least expect that from BET. How about a story on Hannibal? Nana Yaa Asantewa?Nefertiti? I’d really love to hear the story about Addie and Rebecca, or Richard Nugent. I’d super enjoy a story about Mohammad Ibrahim, or Black Wallstreet.
I don’t know about y’all, but I’m a little tired of the slave narrative. I’m also tired of hearing about MLK and Rosa Parks, as much as I love them both. Let’s not box ourselves in. Let’s explore our rich history, and share it with the world. The world needs to know Black history. WE need to know Black history.
What did you think of the #BookofNegroes?