Acting; Therapy; Stereotypes; Thomas Q. Jones
While some inroads have been made, it’s still not often viewers see a Black man on a therapist’s couch in television and film.
That’s why Thomas Q. Jones, former NFL running back turned actor/producer, sees his character Omar Johnson in TV dramedy Johnson as both an anomaly and an opportunity. In a salient story arc, Omar voluntarily seeks professional help to address his anger issues so he won’t lose joint custody of his teenage son. At every turn, his therapists and other patients seem stunned this was a not a court-ordered decision, but one he made on his own.
“The therapy conversation on the show is very important. It’s taboo, definitely, in the Black community where most of the time it’s relying on either a friend or church as therapy. For Black men especially, we wanted to show that it is OK to go to therapy. It is OK to go for some help and talk through some of your issues and conflicts despite it maybe not being something that’s popular,” Jones says.
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