6:56 p.m. CST —
Bellas and fellas, this is my first ever venture into the exciting world of liveblogging. I’m doing this because the folks behind CNN’s Black in America 2 reached out to me, and promised that they’d be looking out for our opinions. I know I’ve got some brilliant readers, so please – I welcome you to liveblog right along with me in the comments!
First thought — watching the Black in America 2 pre-show. Just witnessed DL Hughley’s tearful recollection of his mother, pointing at a rotten apple and telling him he was just like that apple. I was moved, even as I wondered how much this has to do with DL Hughley’s controversial statements about women that he’s made in the past. Hmmm.
7 p.m. — Black in America 2 has been pushed back for the President’s address. Great! That gives me time to cook dinner (sorry to be honest, but I can’t sit here starving!)
7:10 p.m. — Wow. Afrobella commenters SURE ain’t AOL BV commenters (who come from all corners of the web). I wrote about Michelle Obama’s short haircut today, and the comments are going crazy with hateration. Please feel free to add your respectful and intelligent perspective to add some balance there…
8 p.m. — of course it had to start right as I start eating dinner…but it begins bright and hopeful, with the story of Malaak Compton-Rock’s charity initiative
8:15 — OK, of course this program has already brought tears to my eyes. The scene of Jonathan holding the baby did me in. I think Malaak Compton-Rock is doing great work with this charity, taking kids from Brooklyn to South Africa
8:20 — waitaminute, is Soledad about to also do Latin in America? I swear I just saw a commercial for that. Will this be the beginning of a new world for CNN? Asian in America? Native American in America? White in America? I’d actually watch them all. But maybe Soledad might be spread too thin
8:35 — I’m loving these kids featured in the first segment here. I’d love to see a Seven-Up documentary kind of special, following their lives. Note to CNN — take this idea and run with it
8:40 – I love that these kids come home and have made a year-long commitment to give back to the community and raise funds.
8:41 – Sherrod Small! I love him (anyone else was a Best Week Ever fan? Anyone knew he was Chris Rock’s cousin?)
8:45 – I love the story of Jonathan. He’s reminding me very much of a kid I taught when I worked at the Writing Center at the University of Miami. Shy, shy, shy. But huge and tall and good at basketball. He needed a lot of extra attention, and I worked with him more than the flashy players who didn’t take anything seriously. I always wonder what happened to that kid…
8:47 – is it me? Or does Jeremy look like a young Larenz Tate? It’s those dimples. He’s a little cutie. But he needs to get it through his skull – not everyone is going to be a baller and make the NBA. You have to take school seriously while you’re in it.
8:50 — I am so happy for Latoya!!
8:57 – new segment about Capital Prep, a high school that’s extremely strict, where the kids are primed for college.
9 p.m. – the principal was kicked out of preschool for fighting and cussing. Wowza.
9:01 — showing this principal, who now drives a Benz and lives in a beautiful home, is inspiring. Glad CNN’s doing a slightly better job of showing balance. Black in America doesn’t have to be all about poverty and desperation, and I think they’ve possibly learned from the previous special’s reception. Baby steps
9:02 — aww, the principal’s name is Steve Perry! Don’t stop believing
9:08 — so sad and shameful that these kids’ parents can’t give their all to support their dreams.
9:10 — this is becoming an episode of Intervention, one parent’s a former crackhead, the other’s a verbally abusive alcoholic. God help these children =(
9:15 — In other news, just got and deleted a comment on Black Voices that literally used the n-word 10 times and ended with the phrase “white power.” Yes, this kind of thing is still alive and festering
9:20 – I love these stories, and I’m so happy for these kids… but having said that, I do wish that the show went beyond impoverished backgrounds and rising to the top. I’m not trying to be a hater, though. All of these kids in their caps and gowns are making me verklempt. Well played, CNN
9:30 — a story about well-to-do black America. This should be interesting
9:31 — LOL the kid says “I look like Carlton Banks.”
9:32 – “the stereotype for black Americans is poverty, victimization, and mediocrity.” Good for this woman for pointing that out — that’s pretty much been the formula of Black in America thus far
9:33 – They’re discussing the Tuxedo Ball. I know nothing of this world, I gotta admit. So I’m fascinated. I attended one event that could be construed as such. And I felt awkward there, despite being surrounded by people who looked like me.
9:40 — high powered, hard working black woman living the dream. Finally a reflection of self I believe many Afrobella readers can identify with
9:45 – Mia’s taking a risky step, quitting her job. I know, I’ve just so recently been there. It’s more than a little scary
9:46 – “you can never use race as an excuse, nor should you use it as an advantage.” — Well said, mother of the boot camp creator
9:54 – I got a little bored during this bootcamp story, not gonna lie. I’m glad they included it. But I would so not want to go to something like that. My mind lacks that business lean
9:55 — John Legend went to this business school? DAMN
9:57 — there’s something magical about seeing so many people who look like myself, my family, the people I grew up with — going out there to achieve and become movers and shakers in the business world. Will I watch this tomorrow? Yes.
10 p.m. — OK, show’s over, Anderson’s on. Am I glad I watched Black in America 2? Yes, I do honestly think there was more effort to show balance and range within their program. BIA2 focused on the two extremes of the black experience in this country, and I know many who’d like to see more of the in-between. But like I said earlier, baby steps. CNN’s Black in America 2 didn’t leave me filled with anger or righteous criticism, and I’ll admit going into this with those expectations.
That’s all I’ve got right now. But I’d love to hear from you. What did you think? Did I miss anything that struck you as particularly wonderful or terrible? What would you liked to have seen in Black in America 2? Will you watch the continuation tomorrow?
Edited at 8:35 Thursday 23 — so uh… I forgot to liveblog tonight’s continuation of Black in America 2. I just tuned in, and it’s all about fitness, nutrition, and educating kids. I will watch and review this, but not tonight. Right now it’s dinnertime for me! But please — if you’re watching, leave your comments below. I’d love to know what you’re thinking!