The New Negroes

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The New Negroes TV Poster Image
Language, difficult truths in hilarious standup/music show.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Comedians are able to tell hard truths that are easier to listen to and accept, cloaked as they are in humor. On each show, comics make different points, but they often point out inequalities in society, encourage the downtrodden to have confidence, and expose the ugly side of privilege. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The show's focus on presenting the comedic voices of African Americans means that race will come up frequently in acts; some jokes may be offensive to people, or funny, or enlightening, like when a biracial man who's half black and half Jewish says he's "not so much light-skinned, I'm being frugal with my pigment." Some jokes depend on stereotypes, like a comic who mocks "diabetic debutantes" (i.e. Southern women with large physiques) on a TV show. 


Sexual content depends largely on what comedian's being featured but can range towards the mature. Expect jokes about and references to sex, masturbation, body parts, and more. 


Cursing like "ass," "hell," "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," and "damn" is frequent, but usually comedic. Other iffy words may have a racial aspect, including the n-word, or may be in questionable taste: "crackhead." 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Jokes may center on drugs or drinking, such as this one by Chris Redd: "My uncle was a crackhead and we didn't even know it at first. We thought he was just a fun dude."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The New Negroes is a show featuring standup comics and original music videos, most from black or multiracial artists. Most of the potentially offensive material in this show is contained in the comics' jokes, which delve into many sensitive ares: race, religion, culture, privilege, wealth, criminal justice. Some jokes tell graphic and mature stories about sex and body parts; others center on drug use. Humor is often used to skewer injustices and stereotypes, but some of the humor here also depends on stereotypes. Language is frequent, but comedic: "f--k," "f--king," "s--t," "ass." Expect frequent use of the n-word too. This comedy may spark conversation between viewers who may get new insights from performers. 

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What's the story?

Hosted by comedians Baron Vaughn and Open Mike Eagle (who's also a hip hop artist), THE NEW NEGROES is a music/comedy hybrid series with stand-up and original music videos. Taking the show's title from the 1925 book of African-American literature The New Negro by Alain Locke, this series features black and multiracial comics and musicans airing their own unique viewpoints. 


Is it any good?

This show's name is an immediate turnoff for many, but the title's more than a gimmick: it's a nod to the Harlem Renaissance and the way that cultural movement changed America's view of black people. Hosts Open Mike Eagle and Baron Vaughn know that The New Negroes is a provocative title. As Vaughn explains in the very first episode: "Context is key when it comes to the word negro. But this is our show. We create the context." And this context, a lineup of standup from established comics like Hannibal Buress, Sam Jay, and Dulcé Sloan and music from artists like Method Man, Lizzo, and MF Doom, is compelling, smart, and very funny. 

Frequently the standup acts and musical performances and videos touch on issues of race and black culture, like Shalewa Sharpe's bit on black dating app SoulSwipe, or Chris Redd's sudden realization that his fun uncle who "always had the kind of candy you could eat, and the kind in a bag, don't touch that!" was actually a crack addict. But just as often they don't: Sharpe describes having sex with the older men she's dating as "f--king a ferry," a really slow-moving ship that "eventually got me to my destination." But by giving voice to viewpoints that frequently aren't heard in TV comedy -- which tends to be a white dude's game -- The New Negroes becomes the best kind of humor: the kind that makes you laugh and think, and remember what you've heard. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what makes something funny. Does it depend on your viewpoint? Do different people find different things funny? Is The New Negroes funny to you? Can you explain why? Does any of the comedy depend on stereotypes, and does it matter?

  • What is the purpose of satire in our culture? How do you feel when someone or something you admire is being made fun of? Is it harder to laugh at some jokes than others? 

  • Why would it be important to have a show featuring mostly black artists? Are black comics and musicians heavily represented on other comedy shows? In comedy in general? 

TV details

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