Representation Of Black Women

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Representation of Black Women

Representation of Black Women


Many may remember 2002, the history-making year when both Denzel Washington and Halle Berry won Oscars for best actors. Washington won for playing a crooked cop, but Halle Berry made history as not only the first black woman to win an Academy Award for "Best Actress" but also the first woman to do so having lost all of her dignity in one of the raunchiest and self-degrading sex-scenes of that year. The mini-celebration that broke out when Berry won the award for her role in "Monster's Ball" came to a screeching halt when some came to realize that she had won the award for whoring herself, something hardly worth applauding. Even more telling was that the "who's who's" in Hollywood made perhaps the most obvious yet subliminal statement about how exactly it is they view black actresses. If you want to get ahead in this business (no pun intended), you have to take off your clothes. History was made alright. That day marked the day that we gave the highest accolade to someone who displayed one of the lowest forms of human behavior; Premarital sex (Collins, 2004).


Maybe this issue isn't significant to many, but when black people are already underrepresented in so many aspects of life, it's no aid to the culture when the majority of our representation is embarrassing and degrading. There was once a day when black slave women that were put up on the auction block would have their blouses ripped open by their owners for prospective buyers to see the suppleness of their breasts. How interesting that now, although the auction block looks a bit different, women are ripping their own blouses open and selling themselves down the river. The raping and using of black women solely for sexual purposes during slavery ultimately led to the sexualization of black women in all forms of media. But as the pattern of history shows us, the representation of black people in media has a direct correlation with how we are viewed by society (Appiah, 1999).

African-American representation in the media

Over the past decade there have been significant changes in the representations of African Americans in the media. Mediums like film and music have helped to create more positive and widespread representations of African Americans, but television has broken the most ground. Television, which in the 1960s represented African American women through the ...
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