Krystal Zook, author of Color by Fox
rationalizes the images of Sheneneh, Mrs. Payne, Gina and Pam as gender-fuck
when the sex of the character is humiliated on the show Martin. Sheneneh
is the "ghetto/roundaway girl" that wears excessive jewelry, with a huge
buttocks that speaks in ebonics.
These four representations of black
women illustrates the struggles over how the public defines black woman.
Mrs. Payne is famous for "going on off" in defense of her son whether the
accusations are true or false, but she has been known to become emotionally
distraught and to fall out and break into spontaneous somersaults.
Looking at the 1993-1994 season, nearly all of the episodes
suggested that women were sexual objects to be displayed and ogled. Manu
would agree that there is a "natural " and instinctive need for women to
possess and control their lovers. In one particular episode, Martin requests
that Gina gets a make-over before attending his high class reunion and then
says "You are my trophy girl." This negative portrayal of black women as
eye-candy or for show only, perpetuates the idea that black women primarily
concerned with their outward appearance. In result, black men tend not to
look past a women's phyical appearance and seek her talent, personality and
intelligence first. This is a reflection of society's old saying "brains
Secondly, another common occurrence that berated Martin's
character is the constant whining and crying to his mother as if he was
and adolescent boy. His actions proved that he was not assertive enough
to handle situations head on without complaining first. It shows a lack
of confidence and competence in his manhood.
Soul-singing, music composer, producer, instrumentalist, R. Kelly
is once again in the news for allegedly having sex with minors. However,
Kelly denies the existence of the tape. In contrast, Kelly has been
notoriously known for writing sultry ballads like " "Feelin'
on Your Booty" "Sex Me" and " The Greatest Sex" and then "Trading My Life"
and "I Believe I Can Fly." Initially he was well-respected by mainstream
America as a multi-talented artist, but with the drastic change in genre
of music from secular to inspirational, it is too overwhelming for the public
Even though Kelly denies all charges against him, the
tape's existence and having sex with minors period, his image as a sex mogul
prior to allegations hinders his credibility. If the public was not aware
of his illegal marriage to the late R&B princess, Aaliyah, who was then
15 years old in 1994, then maybe the public would be more understanding
and less accusing. His image is now backfiring and plays a key role
with his allegations.
Aunt Jemima has been known as the "cultural touchtone"
of political and social change
since she embraced the advertising industry in 1893. Origianally depicted
by Nancy Green and created by Christ Rutt with Davis Milling Co., her smiling
face and delicious pancakes received an outcry during the 1950's and 1960's
because she favored the image of a "Mammy,"
an image that black women no longer wanted to be affiliated with. Even
the name Aunt Jemima is highly symbolic and has negative connotations. The
term "aunt" as used to refer to an elderly black woman during the early 1800's.
This image eludes back to the days of slavery and later sharecropping where
women were dealt the unfortunate job as a servant or a domestic for a white
family, humbly. Blacks were were defined and influenced by black cooks
and chefs and that " blacks become enmeshed in the folklore in America as
the ultimate experts in cookery. Thus years have passed, however the image
remains...and it is a reoccurrence of an atrocious past of inequality and
disenfranchisement regardless of social class, financial stability, or age.
Uncle Ben's Rice was named after a rice farmer in Houston,
Texas whose rice crop one numerous awards for its high quality
in 1940. Many African-Americans objected to the picture
and name of this product because of the context
"uncle" was in--a southern form of address first
used with older enslaved men since they
were denied the use of courtesy titles.
The Warner Brothers, show Living Single
was created by Yvette Browser as reflection of her life, depicts
the negative "desperation theme," which is based on the market-driven theory
that black audiences appreciate regressive representation of women that can
be attributed to Terry McMillan's best selling 1992 novel Waiting to Exhale