Kansas City's "Undefined Fashion Show" was off the chain. The Fashion King event took place…
John & Esther stood up for blacks.
Blog King, Mass Appeal
CHICAGO — “DAMN, DAMN, DAMMMNNN!!!” Spill Today released the documentary of actor John Amos who had a fallout with producers of the ’70s family sitcom “Good Times” for broadcasting negative stereotypes of African Americans and for refusing to hire black writers for the show. White people wrote the scripts, and John — who played family patriarch James Evans — thought they did a despicable job of portraying the Black experience. “The truth of it was when the show first started, we had no African-American writers on the show,” John said during a 3-hour interview with Archive of American Television. “And some of the attitudes they had written, as per my character and, frankly for some of the other characters as well, caused me to say, ‘Uh… we can’t do this, we can’t do that.’ They’d go on about their credits… and I’d look at each and every one of them and say, ‘Well, how long have you been black? That just doesn’t happen in the community. We don’t think that way. We don’t act that way. We don’t let our children do that.'”
John, 84, also believed the producers placed too much cynosure on the shortcomings of big brother J.J. Evans (played by Jimmie Walker) — an illiterate artist who worked at a fried chicken joint. The scrawny nincompoop also idolized loan shark Sweet Daddy Williams. Instead of giving prominence to J.J.’s buffoonery, John felt more focus should’ve been placed on the professional ambitions of the other two kids: Michael Evans (who vowed to become a lawyer) and Thelma Evans (an aspiring surgeon).
John cussed out the producers, threatened to kill ’em, and received a pink slip. “I felt that with two other younger children, one of whom aspired to become a Supreme Court Justice… the differences I had with the producers of the show was that too much emphasis was being put on J.J. and his chicken hat,” John explained. “I was categorized by Norman [Lear] as a ‘disruptive element.’ When he made the call telling me I would no longer be with the show, he said that’s how I was described and assessed by the rest of the cast, and certainly the production company… so they kicked me off.”
Esther Rolle, who played matriarch Florida Evans, echoed a homogenous sentiment about J.J.’s dramatis personae. “He’s 18 and he doesn’t work,” she said. “He can’t read and write. He doesn’t think. The show didn’t start out to be that. They have made him more stupid and enlarged the role. Negative images have been quietly slipped in on us through the character of the oldest child. I resent the imagery that says to black kids that you can make it by standing on the corner saying, ‘DYNOMITE!'”
Esther left the show for 2 seasons before returning for the series finale.
Social media reaction was vicious.
One commenter wrote, “Can BLACK people write for Happy Days or Three’s Company or Married with Children or even Family Ties❓ Well, how in the hell can white writers do a Black show?”
Another viewer added, “White writers always had a negative stereotype about black people because they are racist.”
Are you proud of John for standing up for African Americans?
Did the writers try to make black people look stupid?
Watch the documentary.
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