Being a millennial is very strange if you were born in the early 1990s. You have the technology and trends of the 2000s and 2010s, but you still remember some of the culture of the 1990s and feel some kind of an obligation to keeping those memories alive. Growing up, I loved watching shows from the ‘90s, particularly shows with African-Americans being at the forefront. Shows like “Living Single”, “Girlfriends”, “Moesha” and “A Different World” promoted black girl power and friendship. In addition to the shows diving into issues concerning black women and teens at the time, it also was the platform for the latest fashion and beauty trends.
Even though times have changed and we have a plethora of other ways to find out what the latest trends are in music, fashion and beauty, we still need a 2016 version of ‘90s shows with black female leads. We are currently in this state of mind where we feel as if we have to do everything alone as black women. Many of the popular channels on YouTube are black women by themselves. While there are some who do collaborations, you still don’t feel the same solidarity you would while watching a show where black women are together saying what does or doesn’t work with their looks (remember when Khadijah and Max used to come for Regine’s wigs every chance they got?)
Everything is the same
Shows like Being Mary Jane, Scandal and Empire show women dressing almost the same way each show. The characters lack diversity in their looks. An example of this was with “Girlfriends”, where each character had her own signature look. You knew Toni would never be caught dead wearing something Lynn would wear. Now, it seems as if costume designers have seen one way a black woman dresses and have just ran with it. Weave is definitely at the forefront of television shows with a black lead, with natural curls only coming out when the character is, “going through something”. Just once, I would like to see a lead wear her natural hair on TV without it being a big deal, similar to how Whitley and Freddie did on “A Different World” or Joan did on “Girlfriends”.
Bring it back without going back
We need to get back to the diversity of black women. Yes, it is all over the Internet, but black girls are still watching television. Many of them aren’t going to YouTube to finding trends, they are looking at what’s happening on the screen and the only time they see black women coming together is to argue or tear each other down. They need to see that every black woman doesn’t look a certain way. We wear our hair natural, straight or with weaves and wigs, depending on the mood. We wear extravagant makeup or very little to enhance our features. Our looks change every year and ‘90s shows were reflective of that while the shows of the new millennium keep them stagnant. I want to watch someone’s style evolution throughout the show’s seasons and appreciate it instead of not knowing the difference between an early or later season as I do now. Bringing back positive images and making it relevant is crucial to the media today and will help girls and women all over see themselves more.