Talks at the Schomburg: Portrayals of Black Women in Media

IMG_0007The Schomburg hosted a Women in Media chat a few nights ago and I decided to attend. I believe this is an extremely important conversation, especially for someone like me who wants to break into the field. The panelist consisted of one of my favorites, Demetria Lucas of Belle in Brooklyn blog and book; she’s also on Bravo’s Blood Sweat and Heels; Vanessa K. DeLuca Editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine, Farai Chideya journalist and host of One with Farai and moderating, journalist Akisa Omulepu. So many interesting topics were brought up and I would love to share some of their discussion points as well as my takeaways.

Misogyny: Do men hate women? After watching shows like Love and Hip Hop you begin to ponder this. Sometimes it makes my heart jump when I hear a man use the B-word to address a woman, attack a woman, or even as a term of endearment. These shows allow women to be disrespected like such all the time. Being called a B**** is degrading. Historically, especially in the hip hop culture, women are not viewed as queens, we are viewed as a man’s B****, their subordinate, or sexual object. Women like Joseline Hernandez, allows her partner, Stevie J to degrade her because of her past as a stripper or Mimi who allowed her boyfriend to exploit her by releasing their sex tape when she has a little daughter at home, are just some of the examples of misogyny illustrated on main stream television, and its detrimental to our image as a whole.

Modern Mom: Sitcoms are a prime example where you see black women in modern mom roles. Most famous Claire Huxtable, yet most recently Rainbow Johnson played by Tracee Eliis Ross on the ABC hit show Blackish. She’s an eccentric and corky doctor, and I can almost see her being that type of mom in real life. But is that the only story we have to tell? Is the modern African American mom, a pretty and a professional doctor or lawyer, with 4-5 children? Continue reading “Talks at the Schomburg: Portrayals of Black Women in Media”

Why Black Girls Rock Is Necessary!

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“When Black Girls Rock, Stuff Happen…”

Young girls, especially young black girls need to be empowered, plain and simple. I grew up during a time where I looked up to video vixens as the woman I would want to become. There were very little positive female influences that looked like me in the media and on tv. Everyday, I would turn to BET and watch these beautiful and exotic women in music videos, with assets you could envy, collecting cash from rappers and shaking their butts in the camera. I thought they represented the ideal; the type of women guys wanted. The type of women who could get anything they wanted from a man, just by being beautiful. I believe this type of representation had a huge affect on me and my perception of black womanhood. My behavior as soon as I was able to enter a club was evidence of this. I had a skewed sense of what it took to get the attention of a man. I had a skewed sense of what it took to keep my man. I had a skewed sense of feeling like I was never enough or never doing enough. I had a skewed sense of what it meant to be a woman of integrity.

Black women are plagued with HIV/AIDS, STDS, drugs, eating disorders, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, prostitution, stripping, sexual abuse, poor choices in men, self-esteem issues among other things. Sometimes we fall victim to these things because we are not shown an alternate route. We are fed misconceptions of womanhood and end up with diminished self-esteem and a series of poor choices. I am so proud that there is an award show that highlights the brave women who have made a difference in the world. Our girls need upliftment, our girls need an education, our girls need a chance and Black Girls Rock along with many other initiatives including Reserved, see that we need to take action now. Continue reading “Why Black Girls Rock Is Necessary!”