"Terrence Howard & Esther Rolle's Shared Perspective: The Need for Black Men to be Men in Hollywood"
Terrence Howard, known for his roles as strong men of power and authority, recently spoke about the tendency to make Black men effeminate and not allow them to be strong and powerful in films. He argued that "the man has been demonized" and that "the strength in character and faults that come with a man are necessary for balance." Howard believes that the film industry needs to expand its stories to allow men to be men and simultaneously appreciate a woman's beauty.
Esther Rolle, who played Florida Evans in the TV sitcom "Good Times," had to fight with the show's creators to include a father figure in the show. At the time, it was a common stereotype to portray black families with only one parent on television.
Rolle believed that it was important to portray a complete, loving family on the show, which included a strong male figure. She felt that including a father character would help to break down negative stereotypes and offer a more positive image of black families on television.
Despite initial resistance from the creators of the show, Rolle's persistence paid off, and actor John Amos was eventually cast as James Evans, the husband and father figure of the family. Amos' character played an essential role in accurately portraying the realities of the black family experience on the show.
The inclusion of a father character was groundbreaking at the time, and it helped to dispel harmful stereotypes and provide a more accurate representation of black families on television.
Rolle's efforts to push for positive change on the show demonstrated her commitment to using her platform to promote positive change in the entertainment industry, and her legacy continues to inspire actors and activists today.
While it is true that marriage rates among Black Americans were relatively high during the 1960s and 1970s, the stereotype of portraying black families with only one parent on TV was still prevalent.
This stereotype perpetuated the idea that black families were dysfunctional and unable to provide a stable and loving home environment, and it was often used as a justification for systemic inequality and discrimination.
The stereotype of the "absent black father" was often used to perpetuate negative stereotypes and biases against black families, despite evidence to the contrary. By including a father figure in "Good Times," Esther Rolle and the show's creators were able to challenge this harmful stereotype and promote a more positive image of black families on television.
The inclusion of a father character on "Good Times" was groundbreaking at the time, and it helped to dispel harmful stereotypes and provide a more accurate representation of black families on television. Rolle's efforts to push for positive change on the show demonstrated her commitment to using her platform to promote positive change in the entertainment industry, and her legacy continues to inspire actors and activists today.
Esther Rolle, who played Florida Evans in the TV sitcom "Good Times," walked out of the show because she felt that the character of J.J., played by Jimmy Walker, was being portrayed as a buffoon. She believed that the character was perpetuating negative stereotypes of young Black men and was not fulfilling the show's original purpose of portraying the real struggles of a Black family living in a Chicago housing project.
Rolle was committed to the integrity of the show's message and did not want to compromise her values or integrity for the sake of a paycheck. Her decision to speak up and take a stand against the portrayal of J.J. was a bold move at the time, and it demonstrated her commitment to promoting positive change in the entertainment industry.
Although CBS was able to convince Rolle to return to the show, it was only for one more season. Rolle's decision to leave the show and her willingness to take a stand against the portrayal of J.J. helped to raise awareness of the need for more diverse and nuanced
For white, non-Hispanic individuals:
The percentage of ever-married individuals decreased from 95.8% in 1980 to 87.9% in 2012 for women, and from 93.9% to 81.6% for men.
The percentage of ever-married individuals decreased across all educational attainment categories, with the largest decrease occurring among those with 16 or more years of education.
For black, non-Hispanic individuals:
The percentage of ever-married individuals decreased from 88.7% in 1980 to 62.4% in 2012 for women, and from 88.5% to 65.3% for men.
The percentage of ever-married individuals decreased across all educational attainment categories, with the largest decrease occurring among those with less than 12 years of education.
Amonama. "Esther Rolle Wanted a Husband on 'Good Times,' But the Show Wanted to Keep Her Single." Amonama, 16 Apr. 2020, https://news.amomama.com/202083-esther-rolle-wanted-a-husband-good-times.html.
Cherlin, Andrew J. "Changing Fertility in the United States: The Role of Marriage, Nonmarital Cohabitation, and Contraception." Population Research and Policy Review, vol. 33, no. 3, 2014, pp. 327-338, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4850739/.
"I Didn't Play": Esther Rolle on Why She Refused to 'Sell Out' on 'Good Times' for a Paycheck." I Love Old School Music, 6 June 2018, https://www.iloveoldschoolmusic.com/she-didnt-play-esther-rolle-on-why-she-refused-to-sell-out-on-good-times-for-a-paycheck/.
"‘I Feel They Need to Expand Their Stories to Allow Men to be Men’: Terrence Howard Says Strong Black Men In the Film Industry Are ‘Seen as a Threat’." Atlanta Black Star, 15 Nov. 2022, https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/11/15/i-feel-they-need-to-expand-their-stories-to-allow-men-to-be-men-terrence-howard-says-strong-black-men-in-the-film-industry-are-seen-as-a-threat/.