Jul 11, 2014

What Happened to the Black Beefcake?

During the 1960s, there were only a few Black actors working on television, and they never, ever displayed their physiques, not even in teen magazines.


In the 1970s, I liked Mike Evans of The Jeffersons (1975-82) and John Amos of Good Times (1974-79) plus The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Roots -- not the obnoxious stand-out star, Jimmie Walker -- but they were fully clothed in every episode.













Even in the 1980s, The Cosby Show (1984-1992) kept both Malcolm Jamal Warner and Geoffrey Owens (left) under wraps.





What's Happening Now! (1985-88) displayed bodybuilder Haywood Nelson (center) only in a single "accidental male stripper" episode.















The 1990s wasn't much better. Silver Spoons (1982-87) never displayed muscular hunk Alfonso Ribeiro, and  The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (1990-1996) only twice -- once in a swimsuit, and again in another "accidental male stripper" episode. 













Family Matters (1989-99) gave Darius McCrary and "Urkel" Jaleel White one shirtless episode apiece.


Must be Hollywood racism:
1. The presumption that only white bodies are appropriate objects of desire.
2. Or that Black bodies are by definition undesirable.

Whatever the motive, Black beefcake is still rare on television.  And Asian beefcake, rarer still.

See also: The Top 10 Hunks of The Cosby Show.