If you grew up in the 90’s, you probably have fond memories of watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and America’s Funniest Home Videos (AFV), both of which premiered at the beginning of the decade. Now, 25 years later, the shows are linked by their mutual hire, Alfonso Ribeiro.
Although Ribeiro’s trademark “Carlton Dance” keeps him in the public consciousness (particularly with its inclusion in the jazz routine he performed on Dancing With The Stars last year), he has a lot more to offer — his experience ranges from roles on Broadway to the small screen, as well serving as a director for various episodes of Are We There Yet? and Meet The Browns. He’s also played host on a few shows as well, including Spellmageddon and Unwrapped 2.0.
Ribeiro’s experience as director, host, and actor will serve him well in his new role as the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos. He brings fresh perspective as a middle-aged family man with a wife and three children, and his charismatic charm is sure to draw in more viewers. I’m thrilled to see a trend in diversification amongst television hosts as well, as AFV joins Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and Whose Line Is It Anyways? by hiring a person of color as host.
Aisha Tyler began hosting the return of Whose Line Is It Anyways? in 2013, followed by Michael Che co-hosting with Colin Jost on Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” during the 40th season. The Daily Show has taken a page from their hiring book and called on Trevor Noah, who is bi-racial, to replace Jon Stewart later this year.
This exciting, long-awaited trend of placing people of color in more powerful and prominent positions will, I believe, open up opportunities for other ethnicities, diversifying our screens. Will America’s Funniest Home Videos have less of a middle-class white American influence? I hope so — it’s time for every family to be able to enjoy seeing the funny side of would-be friends and neighbors.
The start of a new, focused attempt to bring people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds into the forefront has been a long time coming, and this is just the beginning. Think of what we can share and learn, the opportunities to combat racism, and the genuine joy to be felt at the connection made between humans who share a laugh together.
Laughter is a powerful thing. As Oscar Wilde said, “If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh. Otherwise, they’ll kill you.” Shows like America’s Funniest Home Videos, Whose Line Is It Anyways?, Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show have all taken steps to educate us with humor, drawing us further away from damaging stereotypes and judgements, and closer to understanding that although we’re all unique, there are similarities that all of us share.
By beginning to include people with varied ethnicities in programming, a statement is being made. A statement that says they belong, that they deserve to be there. I’m ecstatic to support this, excited about the future, and I can’t wait to see where it leads us.Image Credits: Monique Feil