The Legacy of Flava TV

As a latchkey kid growing up in the suburbs of south Dallas in the 90’s and early 00’s, I didn’t have nearly as many options for media as I do today. Not having cable at my mom’s house made that situation even more challenging and so we relied on a mixture of local broadcast channels and watched whatever was in syndication. When it came to music, it was hard finding music videos to watch that weren’t on MTV, BET, or VH1. 

My best bet to keep up with the latest hip hop and R&B videos was a local program called Flava TV. The best way for me to describe Flava was that it was sort of like if TRL met local access and had a baby. Flava TV was started by local radio DJ Skip Cheatham in the mid 90’s and it was entertaining, fun, and popular for awhile in Dallas’s black community. Flava wasn’t just a one stop shop for music videos, they also featured interviews with up and coming artists at the time as well as big names like Aaliyah. 

One of the most notable parts of Flava TV was how a lot of the commercials were for black owned businesses in the DFW metroplex. Everything about the show was Texas from head to toe and in retrospect I didn’t appreciate that enough because I was just focused on getting to the music videos I otherwise had no access to. 

Over time what I’ve realized about Flava was that its appeal came from a genuine love of the city it was produced in, and the heart and soul that went into it was felt by everyone who watched. Even if they had jokes. 

Eventually popularity declined and Flava TV ended its run in 2012, but Flava’s legacy still lives on as a space that was once created by and for black Dallasites at a time before there was youtube or twitter.

As far as I know, there isn’t anything remotely like Flava TV anywhere in 2018 and that’s a shame. The hyperlocal nature of Flava is what gave it a lot of charm, and it would be amazing to see a resurgence in local non-news broadcasts that cater to black residents. 

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