The African-American Woman in Media

Finally getting a free night in the midst of my busy schedule, I relaxed on my couch attempting to find something on TV. Flipping through the channels didn’t give me peace to my busy day, but instead, it filled me with frustration. Frustration with the way black women are continuously depicted throughout media. If it’s not as a “mammy” or an overly sexualized “Jezebel”, black women are seen throughout media as angry, loud, argumentative, the “baby mama” and countless other degrading and negative characteristics.

Although many individuals, such as Shonda Rhimes, have put in work (and succeeded) to put more positive images of black women throughout media, a survey done by Essence displayed how negative images of black women are seen twice as much as positive images when looking a throughout media.

Tom Burrell’s Brainwashed acknowledged how images in media have an impact on one’s psyche and the way one views him or herself as well as how one should act in society. Negative images in media alter the way society views black women as well as how black women view themselves. It determines what blackness is and what it represents.

It’s time for black women to define blackness on their own and what it means to be a black woman. Some black women have already begun, now it’s your turn!


  1. Write on a piece of paper what your blackness really represents
  2. Have a friend take a picture of you with the paper
  3. Post the picture on your Twitter or Instagram page using #MyBlacknessIs
  4. Spread the word to your friends and family! Make sure they know why it’s important for black women to spread positive images of black women in media and define blackness on their own!

About Alyssa McCall

Alyssa is a psychotherapist in the Washington, DC Metro Area. Her research specializes in raising career self efficacy and self esteem in women of color as well as media's impact on these items.


  1. Hi there, I enjoy reading through your post. I wanted to write a little comment to
    support you.

  2. WONDERFUL Post.thanks for share.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *