Dear White People and the new Black Cinematic Heroine

Dear White People, the new comedy of race and identity in the Obama-era US, is “a nonstop parade of barbed epigrams, cuttingly literate social observations”, writes Owen Gleiberman. Justin Simien, an African America filmmaker examines race and culture in a predominately white fictional college campus.


In Dear White People, we see re-imagined stereotypes of the Tragic Mulatto, Sapphire and Superwoman. Using quotes from Manatu and other resources examine how the filmmaker changes these stereotypes and what was his imagined goal in reinvisioning them. What does this say about how we are to look at black women in contemporary films, especially by African American filmmakers. Feel free to connect black female leads from other films and tv shows as an exmaple, including ones that we have already seen in class.




Zebrahead – Nikki, Love or Sex Object

In the film Zebrahead, Zach a white Jewish teenager in Detroit falls for Nikki, a young Black woman from Brooklyn. Nikki is an average teenager, “the girl next door,” but she is coded differently depending on who is looking at her. Incorporate the readings and our discussion about the film. What verbal and non-verbal messages/codes are used to define Nikki? Is she a love object or a sex object and how or when does it change? And how is hip hop music used in this film?


Claudine – Can the Welfare Queen be a Love Subject?


Consider the conversations we’ve had about romantic heroines and love objects vs sex objects and write about how it relates to Claudine. Which one is she more, or is she both? Claudine was portrayed as a Welfare Queen and a Jezebel throughout the film, in your response to this post talk about how this stereotyped framed her as well. I would like you to read this article, “Six Annoying Women Character Tropes in Black Romantic Comedies,” there is a section that relates to Claudine. I also added an article about The Moynihan Report that created the concept of the Welfare Quees. As always, incorporate the readings assigned, plus our discussions about the above topic with the two articles into your post. Below is a link to the film for those of you who missed the first or second half.

Warning: Before posting, write your thoughts in a word document. Please check for spelling and grammar and read it out loud to make sure your points make sense. If possible have someone read them as well, to make sure your argument/thoughts are clear. Make sure you are presenting your ideas to the best of your ability.


Coffy – The Superwoman and the Black Sexual Other in Blaxpolitation movies

We talked about Coffy being more than one sterotype, please discuss and explain why? Also, give examples of where this stereotype exist in current films/tv shows. In preparing your comments, think about some of the things we talked about in class as well as the non-verbal sexual behaviors overview I sent you. Again, please refer to the readings from previous classes and scenes from the film. I’m looking for everyone to post comments here by Monday evening and feel free to comment on each other’s post.


here is a link to the film for those who missed the first half, please watch it is you missed it so you can refer to scenes: Coffy




Welcome to our 2nd class blog. After every film screening and/or with certain topics, you will be asked to comment on the blog. Please incorporate the readings and refer to scenes from the class screening. Feel free to add articles, quotes from other books or blogs (please credit your source) as well as film clips that relate to the topic.


Please connect the assigned reading on Black women as the “Other” and the “Social Deviant” to She’s Got To Have It. We talked briefly about the concept of the “symbolic whore” and the “good girl vs the bad girl”. How does that relate to his female protagonist, Nola Darling? Please review the article below on She’s Got To Have It and incorporate scenes from the film in your comments/arguments.


Extra Credit – Analysis of Beyond The Lights

As the title states, this is an extra credit assignment and I hope should be fun. Please see the film and write a brief analysis of the film. Does the main character fall into or breaks any of the stereotypes we have talked about this semester (tragic mulatoo, jezebel, mammy or sapphire) and why? Please use examples from the film. There are some interesting twists and turns in the film that relates specific to the music industry that creates its own stereotypes about black women. In addition, all the films we have see in class have been either by Black or white men, this film is written and directed by a woman of color. Does this make a difference in how the characters are developed and how the story is told. Here is an article written about the director, Gina Prince Bythewood, also the director of Love and Basketball. As I have noted before, I’m keeping track of all the postings. If you missed a few, this assignment will count for three postings, since you are going to a movie instead of watching one in class.images


Social Implications and Black Female Stereotypes

This is an extra credit assignment. As a follow-up to our discussion on Social Implications and Black Female Stereotypes, we will continue this discussion on the presentation below and the Lupe Fiasco music video. Please incorporate the examples from our readings.

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