Black Bodies in Media

Having black bodies on TV is a huge accomplishment and should be applauded by our community. It was a fight for us to have the right to be on TV.  Thus are we taking this for granted?  People will argue that majority of the time African American males are portrayed negatively through media. Either through shows that are hyper sexualized or shows that give an underlying of what a black male should be; drug dealer, rapper, or gangbanger.  In their book Masculinity in the black imagination, Jackson and Hopkin agued that public enemies leading man Flavor Flav is portrayed as a “super coon.”  A super coon is an outrageous character that is known to be the comedic relief.  A character that sheds negative light on the African Community by making a fool of themselves on TV or a media outlet. This could be seen through Flavor Flav’s gaudy attire, his extremely large gold clock that he wears around his neck and his over exaggerated FLAVOOR FLAVV catchphrase. Is Flavor Flav’s movement of black rights striped from him when he was in Public Enemy due to his new super coon role? 

Hopkins and Jackson also state that new characters represent a rescripting of black masculinities with new meanings of class, race and sex. The 3 new characters emerge in black films in today’s media are a ghetto protagonist, bourgeois protagonist and bourgeois antagonist. The ghetto protagonist tries to shed his “ghetto” aura to become the bourgeois protagonist. The bourgeois protagonist is educated, middle class and helps the ghetto protagonist to become like him. The bourgeois antagonist in the other hand prides himself as a better class and protects it by deeming the ghetto protagonist unworthy. Although we are moving away from the coon and Uncle Tom roles and we are providing new roles for black actors are we still limiting ourselves?

In Noah’s Arc, Jackson and Hopson try to prove black masculine diversity within the show. I must disagree because how the show is scripted the males on the show are shown to be effeminate. In Noah’s Arc , the characters refer to themselves as she or have a certain lingo that associate with themselves as a female. Alex uses boogina to refer to Noah’s anus. The charters on the show seem to be taking a feminine space which allows them to express themselves due to the masculine space does not accepting them.  For the show to be progressive for masculine diversity it should of challenged the masculine space and tried to make the characterized less feminine. ( love the show, but disagree with the author)

 

Nathan Grant’s article, “Mirror’s Fade to Black: Masculinity, Misogyny, and Class Ideation in The Cosby Show and Martin,” writes on the stereotypes of political blackness. The Cosby Show allowed for African Americans to be seen as a middle-class family with parents who had professional careers such as a lawyer. Martin portrayed more of a rugged and raw light towards the African American community . Nathan Grant criticizes both of these shows as not being apart of the black political progressive movement. I must disagree because The Cosby show shed a positive light on how African Americans can be successful and live a comfortable life style. 

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