Actresses Kerry Washington (Olivia Pope), Taraji P. Henson (Cookie Lyon) and Viola Davis (Prof. Annalise Keating) are breaking precedent by playing Black main characters in hit prime-time network television series. Does that make them the embodiment of Black feminism in today’s pop culture?
Soapy, salacious and scandalous are just some of the words that describe the current crop of popular TV shows featuring African American women. And it’s not just teens or twentysomethings turning key phrases and dialogue from the shows into trending topics on social media. The Black female academics who gathered for March 12 at Macaslester College proudly admitted to joining in the virtual viewing party on Twitter each week. Continue Reading →
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By Charles Hallman
Final installment of a four-part series
12 Years a Slave made five out of nine top-10 films of 2013 lists by movie critics, and Fruitvale Station made two such lists; these two movies featured Black males as leads. However, only two Black females — Halle Berry (The Call, Sony Pictures) and Paula Patton (Baggage Claim, Fox Searchlight) — were leads in movies released by major Hollywood studios in 2013. “Critics don’t look at a film and notice that every one of the lead roles is White,” Uptown Magazine Editor Ronda Racha Penrice said in an October CNN.com article. A UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies released the “Hollywood Diversity Brief” in October and it stated that there is “a dearth of gender, racial and ethnic diversity in film and television — both in front of and behind the camera.”
Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow) and Kerry Washington (Scandal) are the only Black female leads on prime time network television this season. “I’m 5’1 and an African American woman. I just didn’t think anyone would have me to play the cop,” said Beharie of her character in an Essence magazine interview. Continue Reading →