Sign in to follow this  
TopBilled

Why does TCM skip black history month every year..?

63 posts in this topic

Some of us have said it before. The 31 Days of Oscar would be best if it was just confined to primetime. And the daytime schedule was freed up for birthday tributes and other more socially relevant programming.

This February, in honor of Black History Month, Starz is offering these films:

RAY (2004). Ray Charles' rags-to-riches story. 

THE HURRICANE (1999). Denzel Washington as a boxer wrongfully imprisoned for murder. 

ALI (2001). Will Smith as the heavyweight boxing legend.

I AM ALI (2013). Documentary that includes Ali's audio journals.

screen-shot-2019-02-08-at-6.12.22-am.jpe

THE RAPE OF RECY TAYLOR (2017). A documentary about a black woman who was assaulted by six white boyz in 1944 Alabama. Taylor worked with Rosa Parks on reform issues. This is a film TCM should air.

JASON'S LETTER (2017). A relevant drama about police officers shooting unarmed African American men.

STRANGER FRUIT (2017). Documentary. A re-exploration of Michael Brown's killing. Includes previously unseen surveillance video.

SERVICE TO MAN (2017). Historical romance set in the pivotal year of 1968.

BIRD (1988). About jazz saxophonist Charlie 'Bird' Parker. Directed by Clint Eastwood.

FATHERS OF THE SPORT (2008). Set in the inner city asphalt jungles about the hopes of making it to the NBA. A story focused on aspiring youth.

SCANDALIZE MY NAME (1999). Morgan Freeman narrates this piece about prominent African American performers in the 1950s who were blacklisted.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Some of us have said it before. The 31 Days of Oscar would be best if it was just confined to primetime. And the daytime schedule was freed up for birthday tributes and other more socially relevant programming.

This February, in honor of Black History Month, Starz is offering these films:

RAY (2004). Ray Charles' rags-to-riches story. 

THE HURRICANE (1999). Denzel Washington as a boxer wrongfully imprisoned for murder. 

ALI (2001). Will Smith as the heavyweight boxing legend.

I AM ALI (2013). Documentary that includes Ali's audio journals.

screen-shot-2019-02-08-at-6.12.22-am.jpe

THE RAPE OF RECY TAYLOR (2017). A documentary about a black woman who was assaulted by six white boyz in 1944 Alabama. Taylor worked with Rosa Parks on reform issues. This is a film TCM should air.

JASON'S LETTER (2017). A relevant drama about police officers shooting unarmed African American men.

STRANGER FRUIT (2017). Documentary. A re-exploration of Michael Brown's killing. Includes previously unseen surveillance video.

SERVICE TO MAN (2017). Historical romance set in the pivotal year of 1968.

BIRD (1988). About jazz saxophonist Charlie 'Bird' Parker. Directed by Clint Eastwood.

FATHERS OF THE SPORT (2008). Set in the inner city asphalt jungles aboutthe hopes of making it to the NBA. A documentary focused on aspiring youth.

SCANDALIZE MY NAME (1999). Morgan Freeman narrates this piece about prominent African American performers in the 1950s who were blacklisted.

Agree, it would definitely make an interesting addition to the schedule.

  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TCM has two original programming events scheduled per year. 31 Days of Oscar which falls during February to early March to coincide with the Academy Awards, and Summer Under the Stars. As long as they continue to showcase Oscar-related films I really do not see how they are going to still showcase films devoted to Black History Month.

Unless they can find films dealing with Black History that have also been nominated or have won an Oscar.

TCM could show the films related to Black History month throughout the year. Personally, I get a little sick and tired of celebrating _ _ _ _ _ history month (or whatever cause or theme you can think of). It just seems overblown – To me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, fxreyman said:

TCM has two original programming events scheduled per year. 31 Days of Oscar which falls during February to early March to coincide with the Academy Awards, and Summer Under the Stars. As long as they continue to showcase Oscar-related films I really do not see how they are going to still showcase films devoted to Black History Month.

Unless they can find films dealing with Black History that have also been nominated or have won an Oscar.

TCM could show the films related to Black History month throughout the year. Personally, I get a little sick and tired of celebrating _ _ _ _ _ history month (or whatever cause or theme you can think of). It just seems overblown – To me.

Fair point. But I ask you this-- isn't TCM using February to celebrate Oscar history? I think they can fit more than one celebration into a given month.

A 24-hour block of programming on MLK's birthday really doesn't do justice to the subject of blacks in America. And I'm an Irish/German-American saying this. I'd like more diversity on TCM.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Fair point. But I ask you this-- isn't TCM using February to celebrate Oscar history? I think they can fit more than one celebration into a given month.

A 24-hour block of programming on MLK's birthday really doesn't do justice to the subject of blacks in America. And I'm an Irish/German-American saying this. I'd like more diversity on TCM.

So where does this end?

TCM's mission is to showcase the best movies of all time, right? We may disagree about which films TCM chooses to show, but I think that they try to do their best with their programming. Of course there are limitations to what they can show and we have discussed this ad nauseam in the past.

I just think that once they go down that path, then people of other ethnicities will demand full months to their cause or ethnic sensibilities. Why not just show the movies as they were meant to be shown. I can see the following as well... why don't they show more Native American films? That group was probably more afflicted or destroyed by American progress than any other group here in America.

I just do not think a single month should be devoted to just one so-called special ethnic group when many others would also need to be represented.

Just show the movies. As you have indicated, they can have a special night or day for the special programming just not during the current 31 Days of Oscar or Summer Under the Stars.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You both make really good points, and it is difficult to be exclusively on either side. Perhaps a bit of a more spotlighted part of the month could focus on the films that fit in the Black History context, like every Sunday, in an all day scheduling, and leave the other days for the Oscar winning films. Can't both comfortably exist in an upcoming February of coming years? 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agree with fxreyman here.

If you remember, I also said something when you posted a thread on Irish American programming.  I'm not a fan of themed programming in general.  All too often it leads to corny derivatives,  but I know I am in the minority here (I usually am, but that means nothing to me).  There are many more here who like to chase down themes.

My ideal programming is when the themed programming doesn't jump off the screen and hit me in the head, but there seems to be a good sense of random distribution between subject matter, studios, genres, and time periods.  Miraculously it seems there are times they can also pull that off at a different level, in spite of the themed programming.

I have a preference for pre-codes, WWII, and early sixties, but I don't like to see them burn through all the good material from that in a short period of time either.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

Agree with fxreyman here.

If you remember, I also said something when you posted a thread on Irish American programming.  I'm not a fan of themed programming in general.  All too often it leads to corny derivatives,  but I know I am in the minority here (I usually am, but that means nothing to me).  There are many more here who like to chase down themes.

My ideal programming is when the themed programming doesn't jump off the screen and hit me in the head, but there seems to be a good sense of random distribution between subject matter, studios, genres, and time periods.  Miraculously it seems there are times they can also pull that off at a different level, in spite of the themed programming.

I have a preference for pre-codes, WWII, and early sixties, but I don't like to see them burn through all the good material from that in a short period of time either.

Personally I would like a themed day on TCM celebrating Hawaiian Modern styles in films both in apparel and furnishings plus any films with Tiki items visible, but so far I'm also in the minority, not that it bothers me a whit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, MovieCollectorOH said:

Agree with fxreyman here.

If you remember, I also said something when you posted a thread on Irish American programming.  I'm not a fan of themed programming in general.  All too often it leads to corny derivatives,  but I know I am in the minority here (I usually am, but that means nothing to me).  There are many more here who like to chase down themes.

My ideal programming is when the themed programming doesn't jump off the screen and hit me in the head, but there seems to be a good sense of random distribution between subject matter, studios, genres, and time periods.  Miraculously it seems there are times they can also pull that off at a different level, in spite of the themed programming.

I have a preference for pre-codes, WWII, and early sixties, but I don't like to see them burn through all the good material from that in a short period of time either.

These themes, especially ones related to race and ethnicity, can definitely seem heavy-handed. But I also think they provide a good "excuse" to bring in some excellent films that TCM might not ordinarily show. The documentary about Recy Taylor is something people might appreciate seeing on TCM.

Also while TCM's programmers may be trying harder, they're still putting forth the notion that black films on TCM films should be ones which star household names like Sidney Poitier and Denzel Washington. Nothing against those two performers, but the experience of Black America is so much more than films featuring those two guys. TCM's programmers really aren't even scratching the surface when it comes scheduling films that explore the history of blacks in America. 

As the selections from Starz would indicate, the black experience involves luminary figures in sports and music; political and legal situations about overcoming prejudice; and historical moments that signal the advancement of a culture at large. We have to be truthful and admit TCM's programming is not tapping into very much of that.

This obsession they have with the history of an awards show is coming at the expense of a more valid look at American history within films.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't have a problem with a single night's devotion to a theme, or even one-night-per-week given over to a theme. 

TCM just did AAFCA Presents: The Black Experience On Film back in September, and that was done well enough to assuage any Black History Month omission, in my opinion.

And I wouldn't really consider the 31 Days of Oscar as quite the same type of thing, as there is still a very wide variety of films shown. My biggest issue with it is the preemption of the regular programs like TCM Imports, Silent Sundays, Noir Alley, and TCM Underground, all of which could still be done within the 31 Days of Oscar parameters. 

 

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 minutes ago, LawrenceA said:

My biggest issue with it is the preemption of the regular programs like TCM Imports, Silent Sundays, Noir Alley, and TCM Underground, all of which could still be done within the 31 Days of Oscar parameters. 

I agree but on the other hand it is pretty hard to think of Oscar nominated films that would fit in TCM Underground (barring the David Lynch ones of course). :lol: 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 minutes ago, Gershwin fan said:

I agree but on the other hand it is pretty hard to think of Oscar nominated films that would fit in TCM Underground (barring the David Lynch ones of course). :lol: 

It depends on what you consider TCM Underground material. There are a lot of genre films that have been nominated for Oscars over the years:

  • The Thief of Bagdad (1940)
  • Dr. Cyclops (1940)
  • One Million B.C. (1940)
  • The Invisible Man Returns (1940)
  • You'll Find Out (1940)
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)
  • The Invisible Woman (1941)
  • Topper Returns (1941)
  • King of the Zombies (1941)
  • The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941)

There's ten movies just from 1940-41 that were all nominated for Oscars and would pass as TCM Underground films.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, Michael Rennie said:

I agree with anyone who says, "Just show the movies."

Question is, which movies..?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, JeanneCrain said:

Black Entertainment Television (BET) honors "Black" every day of the year at DirecTV Channel 329 (HD/SD).

Do they show classic films about the black experience? Anyway, I hope you don't think black viewers should only watch one channel...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

Question is, which movies..?

The whole theme thing is the question for me. When it comes to "which movies," TCM is pretty good at that already. I'm not all that fond of the very specific themes, but the monthly themes, like this month, are fine. When it comes to the black history element with TCM in February, it could easily happen on a weekend or one weekend day. Any other modest but not overpowering idea could work.

I am also thinking these micro-themes should take place when the hosts are on-air, especially on weekends.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Michael Rennie said:

I agree with anyone who says, "Just show the movies."

"I am fearful when I see people substituting fear of being called politically incorrect, for movies."

Klattu

 

  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, GordonCole said:
"I am fearful when I see people substituting fear of being called politically incorrect, for movies."

Klattu

 

I have no idea what you are saying ... Klaatu

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tonight's theme on TCM, as part of 31 Days of Oscar, is "Race Relations."

But of course they pick two Sidney Poitier films. You mean there weren't other films under this subject that had Oscar noms and wins? What about documentary films about race? 

Why not pick two Spike Lee films that were nominated like DO THE RIGHT THING (1989) and 4 LITTLE GIRLS (1998). That would tie in nicely with the fact he's been nominated this year for picture, director and screenplay.

Also, they seem to suggesting that race relations only involves stories about blacks and whites (like THE DEFIANT ONES and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT). What about blacks and other races, or whites and other races?

But perhaps the biggest issue is by choosing Sidney Poitier films, they are really choosing stories about black race relations that are mainstream and the least offensive to white audiences watching TCM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Michael Rennie said:

I have no idea what you are saying ... Klaatu

Well, BARRADA NICTO to you;)

And TOP, you answered your question in the last post's first sentence.  They're TOO BUSY presenting 31 DAYS of Oscar in a month with ONLY 28 DAYS to be ABLE to squeeze in anything relating too much to BLACK HISTORY! :rolleyes:

Sepiatone

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Why relegate a race or ancestry to a specific time for celebration?

I don't need Hollywood to remind me about Greeks or their Greekness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right now I have very little love for TCM's 31 Days of Oscar programming, but I'll take it as part of the network's film history mission.

As for the African-American experience as reflected in film, for the last several years TCM has scheduled for Martin Luther King Day films of this sort--see their programming for 1/21/19:

.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, Polly of the Precodes said:

Right now I have very little love for TCM's 31 Days of Oscar programming, but I'll take it as part of the network's film history mission.

As for the African-American experience as reflected in film, for the last several years TCM has scheduled for Martin Luther King Day films of this sort--see their programming for 1/21/19:

.

Yes. We did mention the MLK programming earlier in the thread. But one day out of 365 days? In March, they are doing a whole month on Irish in the movies. Considerably more than just green beer on March 17th.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, TopBilled said:

Yes. We did mention the MLK programming earlier in the thread. But one day out of 365 days? In March, they are doing a whole month on Irish in the movies. Considerably more than just green beer on March 17th.

TCM is not doing an entire month of Irish themed movies. Yes, there are Irish themed films on their schedule but not everyday nor are there that many Irish themed films scheduled. I'd be curious to see what the make-up of ethnic people there are that watch TCM on a monthly basis really is. And I am going out on a limb here to suggest that I do not think many black people watch TCM on a regular basis. I would also suggest that many more black people watch more of BET and it's sister cable channels than would ever watch TCM.

So this really comes down to one thing and one thing only. Your belief that maybe, just maybe TCM is being a little too non-caring when it comes to not paying enough attention to the plight of black awareness. Could this be the case?

Are you aware that Black History Month started out as Black History Week in 1926?

Historian Carter Woodson and the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History announced that the second week of February to be Negro History Week. This week was chosen because in coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglas. Both of their birthdays had been celebrated by black communities since the late 1800’s. Woodson and the association wanted emphasis placed on the teaching of the history of American blacks in the nation’s public schools. It took awhile, but through efforts by liberal commentators, and many mayors and churches across the land did black awareness not only become a staple of teaching in public schools, but gained an even greater following after the civil rights riots in the 1960's.

Eventually, Black History Month was first proposed by black educators and the Black United Students at Kent State University in February 1969. This was followed by the first celebration of BHM from January 1970 to February 1970. Six years later President Gerald Ford recognized BHM during the cerebration of the US Bicentennial year.
BHM often sparks debate about the continued usefulness and fairness of a designated month dedicated to the history of one race.

There has been recent criticism. Actor and director Morgan Freeman and others have criticized the concept of declaring only one month as BHM. He noted at the time “I don’t want a black history month. Black history is American history.”

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

New Members:

Register Here

Learn more about the new message boards:

FAQ

Having problems?

Contact Us