- Black. White.
"Black. White." was a
reality televisionshow on FX. It premiered on Wednesday March 8, 2006at 10 p.m. Eastern. The series followed two families of three, one white, and the other black. Through studio quality make-up, the two families—the Wurgels and the Sparks—traded races and experienced what life is like in the other family's shoes. The show was produced and created by Ice Cube, R. J. Cutlerand The show's theme song is " Race Card" performed by Ice Cube and produced by Warren G. The 6th and final episode of the series aired on Wednesday, April 12at 10 p.m. Eastern Time.
Two families - one white and one black - come together under one roof in Los Angeles as they prepare to go out in the world as the other race. Despite being called "The Wurgels" (Carmen's name by marriage) the three participants were not exactly a family in the strictest sense of the term. Film actor (referred to here as a teacher) Bruno Marcotulli, his purported girlfriend Carmen, and her daughter
Rose Bloomfielda child actor who starred on the Disneytelevision show Movie Surfers, until she quit shortly after being cast in Black.White, are white middle-class suburbanites from Santa Monica, California, and the Sparkses (Brian, Renee, and son Nick) are a black middle-class family from Atlanta, Georgia. Brian gains access to white culture when he lands a job as a bartender while in white make-up.
A bitter argument erupts between Renee and Carmen over the use of racially charged language. That racially charged language is when Carmen calls Renee a "bitch". Rose is torn over revealing her true "color" to her new friends in the poetry group or maintaining her cover for the sake of the project.
The Wurgels and Sparkses lock horns over language and behavior. As the friction builds between Carmen and Renee, Carmen turns to an outsider for insight into the black experience. Bruno and Carmen encounter hostility in an all-black neighborhood, and Nick's fascination with the gangster/hip-hop lifestyle raises concerns for Brian and Renee.
Emotions run high as the project reveals unexpected truths about the family members. After experiencing racism for the first time, Carmen becomes disheartened with Bruno's obstinate views and expresses serious concerns about their future together. Rose struggles to fit in with her black friends. When Nick states he doesn't mind his etiquette classmates using a racial epithet (
nigger) in his presence, Brian and Renee take steps to educate Nick about his cultural roots, and why he should take offense to this word.
Tensions grow as the families struggle to find common ground. Rose develops a crush on a friend from poetry class. Renee develops a new friendship with a
Catholicmother that transcends race, and Bruno and Brian reach an impasse over their different interpretations of racism.
Both families share the profound impact the six week project has had on their lives and begin to reconcile their differences as the journey comes to an end. Rose prepares for her final performance before a live audience at the Slam Poetry event. Nick spends the day with an ex-gang member. Renee and Carmen make amends, and Brian and Bruno agree to disagree, but Brian goes out with a bang by calling Bruno a racist.
The show has received criticism from major media outlets. Robert Bianco of
USA Todayhas stated: [ [http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/reviews/2006-03-07-black-white_x.htm 'Black. White.' Oh, whatever.] ]
*"The show is being sold on the race-switch trick, but tonight's premiere is built around a far more mundane stunt: putting people you know won't get along into close-quarter situations designed to exacerbate the inevitable conflicts. If you think there's any chance that the two men, Brian and Bruno, weren't cast specifically to clash, or that the producers aren't playing up every conflict, you've never seen a reality show."
*"Tonight, for example, Brian buys a pair of shoes while in his white makeup and insists he was treated better because of his TV-created 'race.' The different treatment accorded black and white shoppers is a serious issue, one that has been the subject of excellent undercover work by journalists. But you can't learn anything of import from one man's single experience, particularly when we have no idea how he behaved before or if he's even being honest about his history. Isn't it possible he was treated differently because he acted differently — something he himself acknowledges? And, to add, he was in a
golfstore, which is prominently attended by wealthy people - of course you'd be treated better there, no matter what race."
*"Black. White. is based on two false premises, one more pernicious than the other: that you can understand someone of a different race simply by putting on makeup, and that you need that kind of understanding in order to treat people as the law and morality require."
Lee Siegel of
The New Republichas stated: [ [http://www.tnr.com/doc.mhtml?i=w060313&s=siegel031606 Race Coarse] ]
*"'Black. White.' is not a provocative study in secret prejudice, followed by growth and awakening. It's a reinforcement of the stereotypes the show claims it wants to examine and expose."
Australia- Black. White. plays on the Foxtel* & Austar* channel FOX8. (* Cable and Satellite broadcasting systems). Also broadcasted in Swedenon a public tv-channel.Moreover, a two-part French version of the show was produced and aired on Canal + in January 2007, named "Dans la peau d'un noir" (In the skin of a black).
Awards and nominations
Emmyaward for 'Outstanding Makeup for a Series (Non-Prosthetic)' in 2006, and was nominated for a Image Awardfor 'Outstanding Reality Series' [http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0494185/awards] in 2007.
Black Like Me
* [http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/originals/blackwhite/main.html Official site]
*imdb name|id=0545969|name=Bruno Marcotulli
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