I've just cracked the first couple episodes of Ice Cube's new reality series Black White and like Public Enemy said a few years back - don't believe the hype. Don't get me wrong, y'all - it ain't all bad but it could have been sooo much more with the right families in the mix. For those who haven't peeped (or heard about) the show, it takes two families - one white (the Wurgels) and one black (the Sparks) - and through the magic of hollywood caliber makeup turns them both into the other race and (as if that weren't deep enough) they push the envelope and make them *live* together in the same crib! Anyway, anyone who's seen the movie White Chicks knows that the art of turning black folks white still needs a little marinating. The reverse move however, was more convincing (at least with Wurgel family daughter Rose - that's her in the glossy y'all). Check a few of the other transformations then join me after the jump to get the actual factuals on this 'social experiment'...
Now compare Shawn and Marlon to young shorty Rose and tell me I'm lying. Those boyz look like albino burn victims (as 'Tini Mack would say: I'm not hatin', I'm just statin', y'all). With all the hype this show's been getting (Oprah had the cast on her spot a few weeks ago and F/X has been proppin' this bad boy like crazy (it roped me in didn't it?) but even Ice Cube would have to admit that this really isn't virgin territory. My boy Melvin Peebles was on the tip back in 1970 when he dropped Watermelon Man with Godfrey Cambridge and fringe Brat Packer C. Thomas Howell took a similar twist in Soul Man back in '86. That joint had old boy OD'ing on sun tan tablets so he could sneak into Harvard on a scholarship set aside for a black student ('He didn't give up - he got down! y'all. What kind madness is that?). Somehow he managed to pull that off and mack that quirky a$$ Rae Dawn Chong before the end credits rolled. Hmmm..okay maybe that was a plan after all...
Anyway, I was tuning in to see some fireworks based on their mutual cultural immersions (e.g. the fake Northside family getting car-jacked in the 'hood, the fake Southside family taking a wrong turn during their weekend in the woods and stumbling into a Klan rally, you know - stuff like that there) but to me the show is taking the easy reality show way out by focusing primarily on the in house dynamics with each family tripping on the other about their stereotypical or paranoid thinking. That said, I've got to give major props to shorty Rose for stepping into a Poetry Slam class and actually dropping some verse. That took a lot of heart as did later 'coming out of the closet' to let them know that she was actually a Northside shorty. Her counterpart in the Sparks family - Nick - has yet to show me anything. He's hardly in the show - dang homey, at least do a reverse Soul Man on them and show up at a pick up basketball game and hustle the Southside homeys out of some money!
Anyway, I'm hoping the show will pick it up a bit as I like the concept. In fact, the Sparks father looks a lot like Eddie Murphy did in his classic SNL skit 'Two Americas' where Eddie dons white makeup and tries to prove that there are two America's - one white and one black. Hit that link y'all and tell me that joint *still* doesn't crack you up (what a silly Negro) all these years later.
One thing is clear though when it comes to mediocre reality TV, like Michael Jackson (who?) said: It Don't matter if you're black or white. Hee, hee, hee