The Black Woman on TV: Making Room for Imperfection (Cinema in Noir)

The black woman is more visible than ever on primetime television. On the latest edition of Cinema in Noir, my co-hosts and I have a spirited conversation about making room on the television landscape for the new black woman. Today, characters like Olivia Pope, Annalise Keating, and Mary Jane Paul represent a more flawed reality than their television predecessors.

black woman, Annalise Keating, Olivia Pope, Mary Jane Paul

The discussion was inspired by a Crunk Feminist Collective article called Clair Huxtable is Dead: On Slaying the Cosbys and Making Space for Liv, Annalise, and Mary Jane. The writer suggests that the time has come to let go of the ideal black woman on television. She wants us to slay the legacy of Clair Huxtable and embrace the complicated and flawed black woman that exists in the lives of this new generation of characters.

But I have questions. Do we have to kill Clair for Annalise to  live? When talking about the black woman, why is it a matter of either/or and NOT both? Does this type of discussion occur when talking about male characters?  As you may expect, my co-hosts and I have our own thoughts on the situation.

Also, in honor of Halloween we listed some of our favorite women in the genre. We also discussed the  Gotham Award nominations that were announced last week. Congrats to Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Tessa Thompson on their nominations!

LISTEN:

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