The Arsenio Hall Show was a huge leap forward for Urban America. Not only was it entertaining, but it was also emporwering. It gave many individuals a nationally televised platform that they would have otherwise not had.
In its initial years, The Arsenio Hall Show rode the wave of what Njs4ever.com dubs "The New Jack Era." Between the years 1987 and 1992, a cultural revolution based out of Harlem, NY emerged to influence the entire country through expressions of music, television, and film. The music was called New Jack Swing. The television was represented by In Living Color, A Different World, and The Arsenio Hall Show, among others. And films like House Party, Boomerang, and New Jack City were among the celluloid manisfestations. In the early part of the New Jack Era, the creators of the culture were able to control much of it. Including Arsenio. By 1991 however, corporate America definitely wanted a piece, supporting Mariah Carey to replace Whitney Houston, Vanilla Ice to replace MC Hammer, C&C Music Factory to replace Snap, and ultimately, grunge music to supplant New Jack Swing. By 1992, the vibrant New Jack culture that fueled much of Arsenio's appeal was waning substantially. Caught between the angry, unapolgetically negative ethos of gangsta rap and the decidedly 'anything-but-urban' grunge movement, The Arsenio Hall was finished. But it's value as a time capsule of an era that once was has yet to be fully realized. Like the 10 year period of Reconstruction after the Civil War, The Arsenio Hall Show (like the New Jack Era in general) represents an amazingly forward-thinking period of time before the winds of change set the clock back for a number of years before the current hegemony of New Jack figures such as Beyonce, Jay-Z, Sean Combs, and L.A. Reid returned to re-instate the upwardly mobile urban mindset that the New Jack Era so staunchily represented.
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