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The Media: Our Evil Twin?
Written by Brittany Manson    Tuesday, 05 March 2013 08:14    PDF Print E-mail

We recognize this image. It looks like us, sounds like us; the physical resemblance is striking even. However, their behavior is loud, crude, and out of the norm for us. Their attire is revealing, risqué, and not something we’d regularly wear. The language they use is laced with profanity and obscene gestures that doesn’t necessarily fit our demeanor.  Who is this image? Her name is the media and she’s holding up a mirror to African American women everywhere. But is the mirror showing us a reflection of our true selves or our evil twin? From movies, to music, and finally to television, we explore our portrayal in the media both past and present.

Like everything else, the media has a good and bad side. It provides us with hours of entertainment of our favorite programing that range from reality shows to movies to popular music videos. At first glance, it seems innocent enough. However, as time goes on; our portrayal in the media has been called into question. What started out as subtle instances of us not being displayed in the best light at times has turned into blatant illustrations of our reputations being dragged through the mud. Then again, is this something new or have we just overlooked the understated changes in the image the media has been showing us over the years?

Movies: Ever since we were allowed to play a part in the media, we were type casted and roles were limited. One of the first images young girls of color identified with in the media was the “mammy” image, in which the characteristics consisted of being of a darker complexion, a larger frame, and only working in domestic situations. Hattie McDaniel brought this image to the big screen in her role as “Mammy” in the famous movie “Gone with the Wind” which earned her an Oscar in 1939.  Unfortunately, we are still not too far removed from roles like these. In February of 2012, Octavia Spencer wins an Oscar for her role as “Minny”, a domestic servant during the civil rights era in the critically acclaimed movie “The Help.”

Music: The same similarities can be made with music. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, music groups such as 2 Live Crew type casted young ladies as nothing more than sexual objects through their explicit lyrics and even more explicit music videos which were primarily made up of black women. The same can be said for past artists such as Big Daddy Kane and Too Short. Today, music artists such as Lil Wayne, Big Sean, and Tyga are carrying on the tradition started decades earlier of degrading females through their craft and ultimately contributing to the stereotype that has been placed on us.

Television: With the birth of reality shows, girls on the outside looking in are trying to obtain “microwave fame”, the illusion of instant success reality shows appear to provide. Now many are looking toward The Real Housewives, Basketball Wives, and Love & Hip Hop franchises to turn everyday women like themselves into household names. But at what cost?

Sixteen year old Maiah Morris of Atlanta Georgia can identify with how the portrayal of African American women in the media spills over into the real world. “There are plenty of women that feel as though they deserve respect but can't always receive it because of how Black women are perceived and portrayed” she explains. “Some say all women are not dirty and don't "back it up" on every guy in the club.”

Not all of our images in the media are negative. “I think that there are both good and bad looks of African American Women. There are a lot of beautiful black women that serve as a foundation such as Oprah, Michelle Obama, Ms. Rice, and many more” says Morris. “They portray black women as Strong, Independent, Beautiful, Talented, Loving, Peaceful, Intelligent women.” However, success did not come for these ladies overnight.

Many of the issues surrounding our portrayal in the media touches on more of the long term effects caused by the images women see of themselves in the media, specifically body images that come off as unrealistic and not reflective of the diversity of many women. “When I look on the cover of most magazines, I see light skinned, long haired, thin Black women and that is not how we all look” says Maiah. “If people saw the truth & understood that everyone is beautiful and deserves respect... I think black women would have it much better off.”

So is the media a reflection of our true selves or is it our evil twin? At the end of the day, it is up to us to provide the public with an image they want to keep their eyes on for the right reasons and more importantly a reflection of us that we can be proud of. 

High Flyin’ Books Distributed to Area Schools
Written by Administrator    Thursday, 31 January 2013 07:39    PDF Print E-mail

A dream comes true.

Friday, February 1, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. a Black History Month Program and “Kickoff” will take place at Continental Colony Elementary in Atlanta, GA.

Congressmen and State Officials Participate in Installation of Alpha Phi Alpha General President Mark S. Tillman
Written by Shamecca Kidd    Thursday, 17 January 2013 15:04    PDF Print E-mail

Dignitaries join Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity as thousands of members return to Detroit, MI for Official Installation of New General President on January 4-6, 2013

The world's oldest intercollegiate fraternity founded by African-American men - Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity - celebrated the official installation of new General President and Detroit resident, Mark S. Tillman. The celebration and recognition attracted the well-known community and national names like Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia, Congressman John Conyers, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Damon Keith, news anchor Vic Carter, and Fox Detroit's very own Huel Perkins. The inauguration ceremony was a weekend filled with greetings, celebrations and community involvement including Brenda Lawrence, the mayor of Southfield, Michigan, who declared January 6, Mark S. Tillman Day in the city of Southfield.

Read more... Last Updated ( Friday, 18 January 2013 08:00 )
Robert L. Johnson Calls on President Barack Obama to Renew His Commitment to Close The Employment Gap Between Blacks and Whites By Using 'RLJ Rule' To Increase Opportunities For African Americans
Written by Shamecca Kidd    Thursday, 20 December 2012 14:05    PDF Print E-mail

December 14th Washington Post Article Proves Alarming Disparity in Employment Between Black Americans and White Americans

Robert L. Johnson, chairman of The RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET) today calls on President Barack Obama to renew his commitment in addressing the employment gap between African Americans and White Americans, by encouraging U.S. corporations to adopt the RLJ Rule to address the overwhelming gap in unemployment.

Read more... Last Updated ( Wednesday, 26 December 2012 18:29 )
Xavier University of Louisiana Leads the Nation with the Most African-American STEM and Medical Graduates
Written by Shamecca Kidd    Monday, 17 December 2012 12:52    PDF Print E-mail

While the United States lags behind countries like China, Germany, and Japan in graduating students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) curricula, Xavier University of Louisiana (XULA) is bucking the trend – enrolling and graduating more underrepresented African-Americans than any United States college or university.

Read more... Last Updated ( Tuesday, 18 December 2012 05:25 )
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