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Black Television TravelsAfrican American Media around the Globe$
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Timothy Havens

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814737200

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814737200.001.0001

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The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Channel Fragmentation, and the Recognition of Difference

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Channel Fragmentation, and the Recognition of Difference

Chapter:
(p.101) 4 The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Channel Fragmentation, and the Recognition of Difference
Source:
Black Television Travels
Author(s):

Timothy Havens

Publisher:
NYU Press
DOI:10.18574/nyu/9780814737200.003.0005

This chapter explores the international viability of African American youth television in the late nineties and early twenty-first century, when audiences across Europe and Latin America continued to fragment due to increased competition from commercial broadcasters and cable channels. Many channels turned to imported US sitcoms as a cheap way to lure viewers, including The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. During this period, black youth culture became a lingua franca of revolt, sexuality, and coolness among adolescents around the world. The series' runaway popularity led global television merchants to revise their explanations about what kinds of African American television programs travel well. The chapter shows how the idea that youth-oriented shows with African American pop stars and hip-hop cultural references are globally appealing remains prevalent in industry lore.

Keywords:   The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, African American youth TV, channel fragmentation, US sitcoms, African American pop stars, industry lore

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