Television, Film, and The Souls of Black Folks

From Ashy to Classy

Anytime the issue of the portrayal of black life in the media arises, we almost always resort to opening up a discussion about shows like Basketball Wives or Love & Hip Hop. We talk about how black women are devalued and make themselves the subjects of derision. We talk about how the men and women on these shows are portrayed as coons and are willing to take pleasure in self-exploitation for the sake of money. We also often talk about movies that insist on focusing on the “thug life,” honing in on drug-peddling gangstas, sexually provocative women, and the women who support the former and are a part of the latter. Then, of course, we talk about the likes of Don Lemon and Larry Elder (and a good portion of our athletes and entertainers), the group of black folks with class privilege who assume control over Black discourse and…

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