Although the Cosby Show was said to  break stereotypes of black women in TV and movie popular media, not many shows since have followed suit.

Boardwalk Empire, HBO’s new hit series based during the times of Prohibition, depicts a perfect example of one black stereotype. The “mammy” it is sometimes called, is the constantly repeated representation of adult black females. The “mammy” is overweight, in a caretaker role, and usually wears something in or to cover her hair. This is Louanne, a characters maid and caretaker in Boardwalk Empire, being paid to leave town after poisoning her employer. We also see the “mammy” in products such as:

The Mrs. Butterworth container. This is an obvious silhouette of a “mammy” character. Ironically she also shows up as Aunt Jemima’s Pancakes representative.

Another stereotype, called the “Sapphire” stereotype, is of loud mouthed black women who are always calling out black men’s stupidity. This is Harriet Winslow from the comedy show “Family Matters”. As you can see her catch phrase was “mmmm hmmmm” showing her distaste and sort of “in your face” attitude.

Another pop culture example of a “Sapphire” would be New York, a VH1 reality star made popular by her stint on Flava Flave’s dating show. She is loud and opinionated and is constantly getting into fights and attempting to belittle others.

The last stereotype I will discuss is the “Jezzebel”. This stereotype is of a mixed mulatta or fair skinned African American who uses sexuality to get her way. An example of this stereotype could be Beyonce

Beyonce is not my favorite example as she sings about women’s independence, but she fits the mold. Lets look into more real-life examples African American girls have to look to.

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