The reviews and feedback from the newest Amazon Prime television show Them, raise the huge question of Hollywood’s obsession with black trauma in movies and tv shows. Black trauma (also known as racial trauma) refers to the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. Many users on social media were some of the first to point out the countless amount of films and tv shows centered around black trauma.
These black trauma films and tv shows could be something that’s centered around things like slavery, police brutality, racism, and the list goes on. Which the tv show Them had a lot of traumatizing things in it. One of the biggest turn-offs from the tv show was how graphic and traumatizing it was as each episode went on. Especially when viewers voiced their concern when in one episode a black baby is brutally murdered in front of the lead female character Lucky Emory, played by Deborah Ayorinde. The Amazon Prime series was harshly criticized by critics, one critic stated, “I can certainly understand the negative reaction, and why viewers found the violence a bit excessive. Have we seen this kind of terrorization of other races on TV? People recognize there is a need and necessity to tell difficult stories, to interrogate the sickness of this infrastructure of white supremacy. But people are also asking, ‘at what cost?'”
THEM = another example of hollywood using black trauma to stimulate. It's racial horror porn & I'm done supporting any of it. Last thing I watched in this genre was Get Out & the Breonna Taylor ep of Black Lightning. Fuck Lena Waithe & black hollywood for pimping the struggle. /1 https://t.co/hXl1XLv0iu
— Berneta 🏳️🌈🦺 (She/Her) (@BernetaWrites) April 10, 2021
But before things like Them and Oscar-nominated Two Distant Strangers were released, there were countless black trauma pieces before that. It’s quite hard to pinpoint when exactly black trauma film and tv shows begin to become normalized in the Hollywood industry. Although critics of black trauma films & tv show respect the rights of the writers, directors, and producers to display their artistic statements about race and racism. However, some of the content that comes out of these artistic statements is more triggering than impactful. The images are particularly unsettling given the country’s real-life reckoning with police brutality against unarmed Black men, a divisive presidential election, the resurgence of white supremacist groups, and many other things.
As Hollywood is getting diverse and more black directors and writers are breaking barriers the black community is searching for stories to be told without the trauma of what they go through. Many people are wanting to see more black stories in different genres away from black trauma. Which some social media users pointed out that there aren’t a lot of black films where black people just exist. The people are demanding black films centered around witches, secret agents, teenagers coming of age, and the list goes on.
As more black films and tv shows are created, the black community hopes that creators follow the footsteps of celebrities like Issa Rae who’s known for making shows that don’t center around the trauma of black people. Or the directors and storytellers could just follow the young Marsai Martin , who for her production company, she decided to say no to black trauma in things she creates in general.