Scrolling through Instagram lately if you are a black woman has become such an inspirational affair and we have Movie and TV stars to thank for stopping the nonsense. #BlackGirlsRock
When BET first hosted it’s first #BlackGirlsRock Award ceremony in 2006, black and brown girls across the globe felt the collective magic and power that had been surpassed for centuries by ‘the powers that be’.
Being at the bottom of the hierarchy had become so normal that seeing a black actress get a little recognition from a stereotypical role was all we could celebrate… not anymore!
For both the silver and big screens, black women tend to play one of three general roles, sassy and over-the-top best-friend; angry black girl who hates on the innocent blue-eyed heroine and ghetto baby-mama who is unashamedly promiscuous. In the recent years, it has been a breath of fresh air to watch these roles transform into positive, complex showcases of the true reflection of what women of colour go through. Lupita Nyong’o was he star of a Blockbuster horror movie, US; Taraji P Henson stared in 4 must-see movies between 2017-2018; Kerry Washington captured the entire world as Olivia Pope for 7 seasons of Scandal, the list goes on.
My favorite of these milestones in breaking stereotypes I must say was the character that Gabriele Union played on Being Mary Jane. The self-made, single, no children news anchor who’s personal and professional life were layered with true reflections of the issues that real women face. In season one she shocked her audience by stealng her ex-Boyfriend’s sperm because she so desperately wanted to get pregnant then going on to deal with her bestfriend’s depression and suicide while navigating the male dominated industry in the quest of getting on a high ranked news network. Her internalised conversations were a gem to television as it opened up the view of what it feels like to be constantly underrated.
But as is with all social justice movements, the shifting has been a slow and frustrating process. Last week, Hollywood Reporter had it’s annual actress round table production, this year featuring Patricia Arquette, Christine Baranski, Danai Gurira and Niecy Nash- the latest to join rising star black actresses. Niecy confidently addressed the type-casting that she has endured as a ‘loud-mouthed sassy black girl’ and how she now refuses to take those roles. A positive of the discussions was how Danai, who plays Michonne on hit TV series The Walking Dead, spoke of the relationship she has formed with the show writers over the past seasons and frequently talk about thoughts on her character development- a thriller show that one would have never imagined would have a black lead, let alone not die in the first 5 minutes (
yes that is shade!
We have yet to still achieve in correcting the stereotypes, but what I am sure about, is that the evolving roles that black women play on screen are currently shaping positive images in young girls today.
But you let us know, do you agree that the black woman is evolving from typical stereotypes or no? Comment below or connect with us on social media.
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