So, I’m thinking of writing something of a new evaluation series. I’ve half-heartedly written about this topic in passing. I’ve wondered how much time I want to devote to it. It interests me, but I have to admit I don’t have a dog in this fight.
Stereotypical Roles for Black Actresses
What topic, you might ask? For the entertainment I do watch, I would provide a regular review. Followed by an in-depth (give or take) critique of how the role of the black actress, and only the black actress, does, or does not, fit within the context of a stereotype.
I want to hash out the stereotypes first. I’m thinking there maybe as many as 4 to 16. I do not want to get too complex. It sucks the life out of a person to consider this stuff too deeply.
I don’t want to be harsh. Last thing I want is to knock a performance, and have someone lose her job. I wouldn’t be critiquing her. I want to see if she is being cast as a human being, or within the context of the regular stereotypical role the writers of Hollywood like to slot black women into.
I wish I could say that stereotypes generated by the media don’t matter, but I’ve heard enough “My impression of black people are based on television and movies” to know that this stuff does add up.
I never want to make a movie, television show, or create any moving type of media. I don’t have any interest in it, but I do like to evaluate what is being released, because whether the Hollywood people realize it or not, when people watch their material they are an invited guest in people’s homes.
My theory is a lot of them have forgotten that. They really and truly believe that they are entitled to adoration and respect. Nothing could be further from the truth. I will also pin point the writer and director if I can find the credits. They need to be known for their material.
Briefly, I will touch upon the stereotypes, and will refine them later. I mostly watch romance, crime series, mysteries, action, comedy and science fiction. I’ve come to recognize the characters they like to trot out.
Features: Age; Weight
Class: Street; Urban; Working Class / Hipster; Professional
Behavior: Loud/Hysterical/Mean; Know-it-all; Stoic/Victim; Sassy/Overly Sexual
I never want to use any words like Sapphire or Mammy. I find those terms demeaning, and unnecessary. When I look at these slots, a pattern emerges. How does it not follow? Let me show you.
Age -> 20-40s, Weight-> Medium to Heavy, Class-> Urban, Behavior->Loud/Hysterical/Mean
Where does this character appear? She’s the single mother with the wild kids, who finds out her son was shot. How does she react to the death? The kind of shrieking, bawling, hysteria that only Hollywood would ask for. It’s consistent. Whenever I see this character, I turn the volume off, because it happens like clock work.
Age-> 30s-40s, Weight -> Overweight/Obese, Class-> Professional, Behavior ->Loud/Hysterical/Mean
Where does this character appear? She works for the government or wherever. She’s the one sitting behind the desk giving everyone hell. She’s the meanest one in the office, hospital or wherever. You’ve seen her. You know her. She’s typical. It’s automatic that this chic appears if the drama is set in a city.
And there you have it, I have a few kinks to work out, but I think I have enough to work with.