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Are some Hollywood images hurting our little girls?


The mantra “My black is beautiful” is one that is repeated over and over again by African American women everywhere and one that we strive to teach our little girls. When our children see images of African American actresses on TV, we hope that the images will inspire them to want to grow up and achieve success. The question becomes, does the entertainment industry actually portray black women in the light that we ‘d hope would be a good influence on our kids?

Many African American actresses would say that the answer is a big “NO!” Many people feel that characters such as Tyler Perry’s “Madea” or Martin Lawrence’s “Big Momma” still portray black women in the stereotypical roles that were portrayed in movies of the past such as “Gone with the Wind.” However, others feel that those characters are actually paying homage to the older black women in the community that helped raise many us and were loved by all of us. Do these characters actually give our little girls the wrong impression about other black women?

With African American women working so hard to break down racial barriers and typecasting in the industry, does a “Madea” type character give our children the wrong perception of black women in the community?


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  1. I agree that most kids won’t readily identify with these stereotypes. The truth is…there is no balance in the imagery kids (and adults for that matter) see. What sells in the broader market are stereotypes. It helps people feel comfortable if they can label other folks and put them in a single bucket, but that’s not all we are. What we need for kids is to see more concepts like the Fearless Five, a team of black kids that imagine themselves as superheroes gain mass appeal. I bought their picture books for my grandkids and love what they are about.

  2. I doubt any young black girls are being hurt by Madea and Big Momma! Now, these basketball wives on the other hand… However, the main audience for the shows that negatively portray black women, is black women! Stop supporting crap, and they’ll stop putting crap on the tv.

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