Essence magazine has just released the results of its Images of Black Women in Media study. Featured in the November issue of the magazine, the Essence study was conducted to provide a sounding board for confronting a growing crop of negative images of African-American women, while providing a message of hope for revitalizing contemporary views of them.
With the growing popularity of reality television featuring black women in weekly cat fights, and similar celebrity feuding via Twitter making headlines, it seems that the image of black women is under attack. After surveying over 1,200 black women, Essence discovered that they believe 93 percent of media outlets do an "okay" or "poor" job of representing them.
Some have questioned why African-American women should be concerned with how they are depicted by the mainstream.
I've been watching "Saturday Night Live" since way back to the days when the star of the show was pretty much Eddie Murphy. Of course comedian Garrett Morris came way before Murphy did. But I was born in 1973 and my memory only takes me back so far.
Murphy's Buckwheat, Gumby and Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood skits were classic. Post-Eddie there hasn't been much "diversity" on the show. He left in 1984, and to my viewing eyes there seems to have been a void ever since.
For years, I could not understand why there were rarely any African-American hosts on the show. The first I can remember was actually Eddie Murphy...and he was still a cast member at the time. This was back in 1982 when Nick Nolte was scheduled to host the show but became ill. Eddie had starred with Nolte in "48 Hours," so he was tapped to host the show as a last minute replacement.
For movies opening Oct. 18, 2013
"12 Years a Slave" (R for violence, torture, sexuality, nudity and ethnic slurs) Adaptation of the autobiography of the same name chronicling the ordeal of a black man (Chiwitel Ejiofor) born free in New York who was kidnapped and sold into bondage in the Deep South. A-list ensemble includes Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano and Quvenzhane Wallis.
"Carrie" (R for profanity, sexuality, graphic violence and disturbing images) Chloe Grace Moretz plays the title character in this remake of the 1976 Stephen King classic about a shy teenager who uses her telekinetic powers to exact revenge on the classmates who teased her at the senior prom. With Julianne Moore, Judy Greer, Portia Doubleday and Gabriella Wilde.
Pop culture writer Ericka Blount Danois' book about "Soul Train" makes you want to grab a bowl of ice cream and cookies (or yogurt and fruit considering the book's generation's age), call up an old friend and have a long, bounding conversation about the good old times and the beauty of youth.
Entitled "Love, Peace, and SOUL: Behind The Scenes Of America's Favorite Dance Show –Soul Train: Classic Moments," Danois' naturally flowing style brings all the beauty, fun, love, drama and tears of a family reunion without the messy cleanup. A must have for African-American homes and anyone interested in African-American culture.
Baby Boomers beware. Trying to recreate the dance moves that electrified America when "Soul Train" boomed across the nation could be hazardous to your health.
(Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. talks about his new PBS series, "The African Americans," which premieres on Tuesday (Oct. 22nd) at 9 p.m. CT.)
Kam Williams: What was the biggest challenge in covering 500 years of African-American history in a six-hour PBS-TV series?
Dr. Henry Louis Gates: Precisely that, covering 500 years of African-American history in six hours. (Chuckles) Well, I've been working on this for seven years. The biggest challenge was deciding which stories to tell. In a one-hour documentary, you can tell maybe ten stories. That's how the documentary is structured.
Apparently it is true that absence makes the heart grow fonder, at least in some cases.
Just ask Arsenio Hall who, according to ratings organizations, has been warmly welcomed back to television with "The Arsenio Hall Show."
It had been nearly two decades since the first incarnation of the program, which added a new flavor to late-night television. The show ran for six years from 1989 to 1994.
Hall, now 57, said, "I know I did the right thing by taking time off to raise my son, but it came with a price. I turned down many opportunities over the years because I didn't want to leave him for long periods of time. And in Hollywood, as in any business, the calls stop coming when you don't answer."