Because there’s always a willing participant.
A reader sent me a link to a Bounce commercial that yet again depicts black women in a negative light. View it here:
This particular commercial apparently has been running for a while, but has flown under the radar compared to the Pepsi commercial that caused an uproar because the Pepsi commercial was aired during the Superbowl.
So seeing this latest Bounce commercial really got me to thinking. As black women concerned with fair representation in the media and who are not content with settling for the constant stereotypes, yes, we should be targeting advertisers first and foremost.
But we must also target the women who willingly play these negative roles of black women in commercials, television shows and movies. Why are we letting them off the hook?
When I talk of “roles” I’m talking about the senselessly angry woman, sidekick or in the case of this horrid Bounce commercial the larger than life, unattractive, ridiculous, black mammy.
Quick question before I proceed: do advertisers simply not realize that we notice these slights, or do they do it in spite of what what we as black women may think or feel because they’re more concerned with getting laughs from other groups of people?
Back to my point. I think that we are letting the women who willingly play these roles off the hook. Did anyone contact the black female who didn’t have a problem playing the angry black woman in that Pepsi Commercial? Has anyone contacted Gabrielle Dennis (the same actress from The Game) for pulling her hair back to make herself look less attractive and playing the bitchy annoying black woman in the State Farm commercial that plays on television day and night?
I am personally making the decision to choose another brand of fabric softener sheets after viewing this Bounce commercial (there are simply too many alternate choices), but instead of just getting upset with Bounce why should we let the “Judas” of a woman who starred in this commercial off the hook as she runs off and spends her few thousand silver pieces?
I think it’s time that we officially “throw up the deuces” to those few black females who insist on playing into negative stereotypes about black women like the woman in this commercial. We should shun them instead of embracing them as a part of “us” as a community of black ladies who wish to make progress and be positive role models for younger girls.
To be clear, I’m talking about the everyday females who proudly wave their “I’m ghetto and proud!” flag in public. The cashiers who roll their eyes when you ask them for help in the store. The ones who insist on yelling, acting ignorant and harassing the waitress when they go to a restaurant to eat. The TV personalities ala Nene from Real Housewives of Atlanta who proudly display ignorance as a badge of their womanhood. The black females who go on TV news specials or submit to newspaper interviews where they moan about why black women are single and can’t find a man.
The silent majority of black women should hold these others more accountable for willingly participating in this nonsense. They stand out in the crowd and they know it because they’re attention hungry.
Which brings me to my second point. We, the silent majority, must also become more vocal and noticeable to neutralize and overshadow these negative media stereotypes instead of sitting idly by shaking our heads, don’t you think?
Don’t get me wrong now. None of us can stop the Nenes of the world from being who they are — they are free to be who they want to be. But the rest of us shouldn’t have to continue to silently suffer the effects of their nonsense without holding them as accountable as the advertisers and media types who use them to push their racist agendas.
So with this post I’m calling for two things:
1) Begin to name and shame black females who participate in the negative stereotyping of black women in the media
2) Step up and represent publicly as a classy and progressive black woman in your own way, whether it is starting a community organization or writing a book about the positive influences of black women on our society.
This was a long but I think important post addressing why advertisers and the media target and stereotype black women. The one positive effect of this ongoing issue is that it is starting to heighten the senses and sensibilities of black women in this country.
Love The Classy Black Lady