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African Americans on television

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03:36

"Laurel Avenue" is Worth It.

TV critic David Bianculli reviews this weekend's HBO miniseries, "Laurel Avenue," about a large working class African American family in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Review
22:36

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs.

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs. His film about gay black men,"Tongues Untied," was shown on PBS last year, and it unleashed a storm of outrage in powerful right-wing circles. Sen. Jesse Helms (R, NC) even put together and distributed a seven-minute tape of scenes from the film, which, taken out of context, completely distorted Marlon Riggs' intentions. The documentary is often used by Congresspeople as an example of what's wrong with public broadcasting, and why it shouldn't be federally funded.

Interview
27:52

A TV Critic's "Comic Visions"

David Marc considers his new book about classic sitcoms as a kind of autobiography: each show he reviews reminds him of the time in his life when he first watched it. He joins Fresh Air to talk about the history and politics of television comedy, especially in how it restricted the roles of women and people of color.

Interview
10:00

Making "Frank's Place"

Hugh Wilson created the television show WKRP. His much-anticpated, new program, Frank's Place, centers on a restaurant in New Orleans, and features many roles for African American actors.

Interview
31:50

Few Roles for Black Actresses

Esther Rolle played a maid in the television show Maude, a role which she hoped would subvert the racist tradition of mammy characters typically given to African American actresses. Rolle now works mostly in theater, and is featured in a production of Carson McCullers' The Member of the Wedding.

Interview
22:43

Violence in Television.

Larry Gross is an academic and professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. The focus of his research is largely television. He delivers a talk on violence in the medium.

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