Live media literate.

Join Understand Media to get access to our forums, the latest media literacy news, member-only articles, early access to our journals, and much more.

We will never give your info to anyone!

By Brittani C.

Everyday we are bombarded with hundreds of images, advertisements and news articles that all contribute to the way we think. Through all the different forms of media; news, television, internet, film, and music; come different viewpoints and standards for different ethnicities. White women are portrayed to be poised and well mannered, Asian women are portrayed as being shy and submissive and Black women are portrayed as ignorant sex figures. Over the years all of these social outlets have played a significant roll in the public perception of Black women all over America. Dating all the way back to Slavery Black women have been characterized as uneducated, highly sexualized and objectified for their prominent features. In 2013, the predominant image of Black women are presented as sexual objects showing off their breast or extremely large buttocks. When the true representation should be activist for social reform already in effect by woman like Oprah, Michelle Obama and Alicia Keys.

The news help perpetuate the stereotype of Black women being ignorant by finding the most uneducated Black person they can for news stories that turn out to be internet sensations. Two prime examples are Antoine Dobson and Sweet Brown. Both Antoine and Sweet are big news crowd-pleasers turn internet stars. The two news stories are completely different but exactly the same. Both are describing a traumatic event that happen to them but the manner in which they are portraying the event proves to be even more of a shock. It’s obvious that the two are lacking in a proper grasp of the English language. These narratives are not informative in the least bit; they are degrading. These poor unsuspecting citizens are made out to be a joke. This may be a huge laugh to most Americans but as a whole these two are helping “prove” the stereotype that Blacks are ignorant and uneducated. When media outlets broadcast videos similar to those mentioned above they should take into account that most of America (ie middle America) does not know that educated Black people do exist therefore carrying on their stereotype of Blacks being uneducated citizens.

Music is a worldwide medium for media that reaches the masses. Over the generations music and their videos have been degrading Black women on many different levels. In our parents generation the worst thing that a man could do is hold your hand but now in our current generation many musicians talk about how they want “A big booty ho”. (Birthday song by rapper 2 Chaniz) The videos many artist put out now are exploiting a Black woman's body and making them seem like nothing more than a sex symbol. There are even music artist that make a whole song talking about how much they want to feel on their girls butt. R.Kelly’s song titled “Feelin on your booty” is four minutes and six seconds of him singing about a his wife’s big butt. Eric Bennet has a song about a woman wrapping her “chocolate legs around him”. It’s music like this that the world is listening to further perpetuating the notion of Black women being sexual objects.

In lieu of all the negative images being fed to the public about Black women, the media should try and concentrate on positive Black women. There are numerous Black women that do not show off their amazing curves to get attention, they let their charity work speak for itself. Instead of being known as a curvy woman Michelle Obama is known for helping Americans learn to eat better food and portion control. Michelle has helped much of America find better ways to incorporate physical activity into their life and their community through special fitness programs. Oprah and Alicia Keys have opened many centers to help empower young Black women grow and become upstanding educated Black women of the community. Through these centers young women of all ages have gained confidence to take on the life with their head held high and not subject themselves to the objectification that the media has tried to lure them into. If the media began to focus on the good that many Black women do and the change that they seek there would be a much different tone to all of the negativity we have learned to accept.

Despite our immense immersion into the different forms of media, it is important to keep in mind the message that it is sending out. The media reaches so many different types of people and different parts of the world. Portraying a group of people in a negative light not only hurts that group but it helps perpetuate stereotypes. Black women have proved to be more than uneducated, and over sexualized. They are upstanding citizens that want to help promote not only themselves but women as a whole to be better members of society.

Work Cited

Brown, Sweet, perf. Ain't nobody got time for that. Film. 1 Apr 2013.

Dobson, Antoine, perf. Bed intruder. Youtube, Film. 5 Apr 2013.

James, Bronwyn. "Stereotypes of African American Women in the Media." Squidoo. N.p., n. d. Web. Web. 5 Apr. 2013. <>.

"Stereotypes of African American Women in the United States." Wikipedia . <>.