I had a great conversation with my sister yesterday morning. She hadn’t seen the new Fresh Prince of Belair– the reboot of the popular 90s sitcom that starred mega superstar Will Smith. The original Fresh Prince was a show we watched religiously. I recall grabbing the remote control, flopping on the edge of my bed, and cranking up the volume; using the mic to sing, “Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped turned upside down…” That was my jam.
When I heard about the reboot I thought, “Oh, this is going to be awesome!” I loved Fresh Prince and was ready to laugh again. The original show, in my opinion, was funny. We laughed hard, during each episode. If it wasn’t Will’s silliness, it was Hillary’s dorkyness, or Carlton’s nerdiness. Those are words I made up, but I’m sure you know what I mean. Jeffrey “G” was always one of my favorites. Although it was extremely funny, it also included important lessons about family togetherness, love, peer pressure, work-life balance and more. Overall, it was a great family show that followed The Cosby Show.
The reboot was different. It actually portrayed characters that were more modernized and the scope of the entire series (so far) had themes and cultural trends that overshadowed the actual storyline. I just didn’t get the same feeling I had back in the 90s. Quite frankly, it seemed more politically charged and culturally relevant.
My conversation with my sister made me think a lot about how much thought writers should put into cultural trends.
It makes sense to stay aware of how times are changing if you want to communicate to the current generation. You have quite a few things like fashion, technology, and language to consider. But, how much of that should you consider and can it overshadow your writing style and message?
If you’re a writer, I have a poll that I’d love for you to participate in. Please select an answer in the box!
My encouragement to writers is to be as authentic as you can in your own work. If you want to keep up with trends, go for it. I believe it’s possible to still be up-to-date on what’s going on, while still maintaining authenticity. Just because people tend to lean in certain directions with their messages doesn’t mean you have to. Like my mom use to say, “Be a leader, not a follower.” Do we need to include cultural trends in our work?
What do you think?