Classy Black Women

In this article I’m addressing one aspect of why advertisers and the mainstream media continue to stereotype and degrade black women.

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:



Aaahhh ladies, it just keeps getting more blatant, doesn't it? I hope you’re taking note.

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  





Comment

THERE ARE 8 COMMENTS FOR THIS POST

  1. Anonymous On April 10, 2011 at 1:19 PM

    I have to disagree with your post. The woman who is in the Bounce ad is an actress. It is in her interest to take any and all jobs offered her. I don't believe that there are so many opportunities for overweight black actresses. Yes, she got paid, but she probably has her rent to pay. It's not as if she's selling guns and ammunition. Your real beef should be with the company that makes and sells Bounce for perpetuating this Mammy image.
    IF you look back in history, there were a lot of members of the BC, who were like you - furious with Ms. Hattie McDaniels for playing all those housekeeper roles in film and on TV, back in the day. However, Ms. McDaniels herself said that she's rather play a maid than BE one. And by playing the maid, she opened the door for other black actresses to work in Hollywood.

    Back to your misdirected anger, you should be convincing your readers not only to boycott the products, but also to write the producers of such products and make them aware that Black women are consumer groups and it would not be in THEIR best interests to show unflattering images of us.

      STOP the Media Smear Campaign Against Black Women On April 19, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    I agree that we have to stop participating in this negative propaganda against us, and speak out against everyone else who chooses to negatively depict us as well.

    Please help to stop the release of Skank Robbers and pass it on to your networks. The form letter can be found here:

    http://stop-the-media-smear-of-black-women.blogspot.com/2011/04/give-your-support-to-help-stop-release.html

    Thank you for your support.

      Metafilter On May 13, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    This is a really hard call Classy Black Lady.
    Whether to attack the co-conspirator or focus all energy on the main culprit.

    I think we shouldn't support these women when "the game" turns on these women, but to set them within our crosshairs, I don't know about that. Definitely agree about keeping our purses closed to the manufacturer. I just wonder with these commercials who is the target audience? Non-black Americans or do they really think BW view themselves like this?

    BTW, I am somewhat new to the whole BWE blogworld and I am impressed by your site. Most of the sites I've commented on have been pretty cool, except for one which shall remain nameless. So, I do hope that a slightly different opinion won't incur any wrath (LOL!!).

      Metafilter On May 13, 2011 at 8:19 PM

    I am on the fence with the naming/shaming. However, if something happened to these types of actresses i.e., if the industry/game were to turn on them, I would not offer any support, nor would I blindly protest in their favor. I also believe in accountability and that those who work against the community, in any capacity, should be ostracized. I believe a BW should be corrected, but neither blindly supported nor publicly humiliated.
    I will, definitely boycott this product.

    Congrats to you about this website.

      Anonymous On June 22, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    I agree. I dont support those who take those stereotypical roles and I don't understand why some black men/women do.

      Becky On April 16, 2012 at 3:13 AM

    I think it's up to the viewers too, if they let commercials like this shape the way they see people. Advertisers and media know the tightrope they walk and are careful not to slight anyone unintentionally.

    ---
    Long Island advertising agencies

      Maia Dobson On May 23, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Your points are all agreeable. It's not just to stereotype blacks in commercials and put them into a negative light. I think even the small advertising agency do this stereotyping which isn't right.

      Bettina On October 26, 2012 at 9:33 PM

    I came across your blog post because I Googled this commercial after hearing it again, and being pretty certain it was a new actress. I can't find the original video anywhere, but I've read some blogs allude to the original actress's size and drink, which is obviously missing from this new video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8gSRqcmN3A

    I'm incredibly offended by all the implications of this re-shoot. 1) Bounce used a smaller, and if I recall correctly lighter-skinned actress for the new commercial; 2) they kept the setting and script the same, only removing the drink, so it's still pretty darn offensive; and 3) they kept the setting and the script the same and recycled the commercial just with a new actress--did they think people wouldn't remember or notice? do all black women look the same?

    I find this pretty problematic, hopefully some attention can be brought to it.

     

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