Many Black TV viewers are more than happy to see themselves represented on the small screen, but what’s equally as satisfying is knowing that African Americans are also behind the camera.
Jacque Edmonds Cofer is the executive producer behind two of BET’s most popular series, “Reed Between the Lines” and “Let’s Stay Together.”
The Harvard grad worked her way up from intern to executive. Get more of her story in the January 2012 issue of Sister 2 Sister and get an exclusive excerpt here.
Mavis: You’ve been very successful in producing content relating to African Americans and especially relating to positive, healthy images of Black women. But why do you think it’s so difficult to get these shows or movies greenlighted? You often find that when it comes to something negative or dramatic about Black women like some reality shows, those are the ones that get easily picked up. But why is it hard to get shows like yours approved?
Jacque: Well, I think that people have…and there are plenty of studies that go back and look at generations of stereotypical and generally accepted images of who we are. And so for a mainstream producer who either doesn’t know any better or is trying to reach an audience in an easy way, having women who are bossy, who are yelling at each other, who are fighting and throwing drinks on each other on reality shows is sort of an easier way to go—to make an impact quickly. You know, those are the clips that are going to show up on YouTube. That’s what people are going to be talking about the next day, not, "Wow, I saw a meaningful discussion between two educated women, you know, about relationship issues." But if they’re trashing their ex-husbands or cussing each other out in Beverly Hills, that’s more likely going to get a quick hit. So I think it’s that a lot of people have a short-term view. The more shows like the scripted shows on BET that are on the air attracting an audience, the more other producers in the mainstream will see, "Ha! This is a viable route, too. And it’s a better route and it’s a longer route." Because I think, I hope, people will burn out quickly on shows that feature women who dislike each other.
Get more on Jacque in the January 2012 issue of Sister 2 Sister.
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