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  • Writer's pictureD.P. Stephens

Facing Reality: Our fascination with Black Women on Reality TV

Reality TV is the only genre that consistently projects Black women's "real lives" to a national audience.

Reality television has become one of the only mainstream mediums to shine a light on the cultural fabric of Black America, for better or for worse. Reality shows with predominantly (or entirely) Black cast members now are among the biggest hits on cable. Often described as "urban reality programming", these genres are perceived as one of the most influential sources of information about the way Black people live.

The gendered and racialized frameworks that shape the production of reality TV cannot be ignored. This programming genre is consumed at greater levels by women, and is segregated by race. For Black women, these shows perpetuate stereotypical images, particularly the “angry Black woman” trope. Further, the centralization of sexuality .

This Black History Month keynote presentation for Miami- Dade College- Homestead explored the ways in which gender and race stereotypes influence perceptions of Black women and perceptions of themselves. You can also view this video directly on Youtube.

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