Black TV shows have been on the come up for quite some time. This shift in prominence is largely due in part to our increasing visibility in the American pop culture landscape. As a result, more and more Black shows are given the opportunity to shine for all to see. The increased prioritization of Black actors, producers and show runners not only pivots the light in which Black life is portrayed but it also has begun to highlight these creators and their stories in a way that is equal to their white counterparts.
We don't always want to be the face of oppression and struggle. Our community is bold; it is brilliant. Heck, our people can be hella funny. Shows like Insecure and Black-ish were a perfect mix of light-hearted and not-so-light hearted fare. Now with the end of their respective, successful runs, a bevy of new Black shows are vying for a way to take over their spotlight.
Make way for Bust Down, the streaming platform Peacock's newest show. In a world where our community consistently strives to show that Blackness can be internalized and experienced in differing ways, this show comes at the perfect time. Abandoning the appeal of respectability politics and good-mannered humor, this show—starring Sam Jay, Chris Redd, Jak Knight and Langston Kerman—is the definition of doing hood rat stuff with your friends. Bust Down follows the wily and seam-busting shenanigans of four friends and coworkers as they navigate their jobs and real life sh*t. The best part is, there are no magical Negro tropes and no message illuminating some age old Black struggle; it's just straight up, raw Black tomfoolery.
"We putting on for all the weird, wild Black folks," said SNL's Chris Redd in an interview. "There's an open lane for us and we are making our way in there. We can have fun too without the responsibility of the subject matter always being so heavy."
We all have friends we love who can be insanely out-of-pocket. It's that friend which makes the show so relatable. "There's a space right now for Black folks to be funny and problematic in a way that we typically don't get to. We always have to remind people that we are human, we are special and we matter so hear us scream and act loud because we don't give a damn," shares Kerman. "With Bust Down, we want to be a bunch of other things that can only be articulated through a lens [that our people can only] provide and understand,"
"There are so many Black shows killing it right now like Abbott Elementary and Atlanta. But, we did a lot of stuff that I personally have not seen in other Black shows so I hope this show inspires our community to keep finding new alleyways to being funny and interesting," explains Knight. "We can be niche for ourselves and that hasn't always been possible. It's tight that we can be that for each other right now—and we don't mention white people at all."
Adds Jay, "With the show, there is an opportunity for Black folks to be silly again and not have to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Or not have to solve all of racism in one episode or season. We can be goofy and be a respite for people to just laugh. That's why we built the show the way we did. We wanted the characters to be irresponsible and say the wrong thing because that's real life."
Bust Down is available to stream on Peacock on March 10th. Catch the trailer below.