While there may not be a clear consensus on the issue, a number of Black women have been expressing concern with their image as portrayed by the mainstream media. Time has appeared to have brought some measure of progress, but some would argue that persistent less than favorable reports on the status of Black women, and our culture in general, prove that the media has a long way to go in terms of projecting a vision that is both holistic and positive. So as an unofficial guide to assist the media in stepping into the present day, we suggest they make a departure from their usual tactics and focus on relevant subject matter such as the following:
Black Folks in the Green Movement: In a field that seems to be widely ignored by African Americans, Majora Carter is perfect example. Founder of Sustainable South Bronx (SSBx), she’s led the way in urban sustainability, fitness and healthy food choices.
Black women of Substance in Entertainment: Many of the sisters the media chooses to highlight often wade in the shallow end of pop-culture. The media seems to ignore the population of Black women in front and behind the scenes (a la Suzanne de Passe) who possess depth while making major advancements in entertainment and deserve honorable mention.
Diaspora Affairs: The small handful of prosperous Black Americans mentioned in the media aren’t the only folks in the Diaspora who are taking care of big business. Self-made billionaires such as Mohammed Al Amoudi from Ethiopia or South Africa’s mining mogul, Patrice Motsepe are huge industry leaders worth acknowledging.
Multi-cultural Unity: Prior to her death on May 2, 2008, Mildred Loving, the woman who fought to end miscegenation laws fought for gay marriage rights. It’s an absolute fact that people of various backgrounds and sexual orientations continue to work together to achieve a common goal, and the media ought to reflect that.
Black Women Represent Worldwide: This would be a nice change of pace. Note to the media: Rather than focus on the various ways Black women’s lives are plagued with suffering, how about drawing material from real life success stories from Black women across the globe? Black Women in Europe is a fascinating favorite that will surely broaden the scope of our collective experience.
Positive Black Family Issues/Images: One example would be dramatic TV shows depicting a solid Black family – not full of ridicule, but pride, positivity and dynamism.
Let’s See More of the Unique; Less of the Clones: The occasional spotlight on more talented, and unique artists, for example, than the usual manufactured starlets would be refreshing.
Spotlight More Examples of Black Unity: Organizations such as churches, fraternities and sororities for instance are proof of Black people working in unison to make positive contributions both here and abroad.
Acknowledge Black Women in Non-Stereotypical Roles/Industries: You may have heard of Faye Wattleton, Dr. Valerie Montgomery-Rice, Dr. Susan Rice before, but there are many more sisters who have triumphed in politics, medicine and beyond whose contributions deserve recognition.
Show Exactly How Trouble Comes in All Shades & Colors: Black folks haven’t cornered the market on trifling, grotesque values and behavior – despite what your favorite gossip blog, or Maury Povich may frequently convey. All cultures harbor their share of scandalousness – no matter how well they conceal it (or the media chooses to ignore it).