June 17, 2020
Misrepresentation of black Women is all over television, but talent shows create the perfect storm of anxiety viewing – and don’t look set to change any time soon
From Big Brother to Strictly and The X Factor, reality TV has a black women problem
Over the years, I have written scores of articles about the mistreatment of black women in two of my favourite forms of media: reality TV and music. In the UK, black female musicians are continuously erased. Meanwhile in reality TV, we seem to be cast almost solely to solidify pre-existing tropes in the public imagination.
Big Brother was committed to representation, but mainly of the “angry black woman” stereotype through the portrayal of contestants such as Alexandra De-Gale and Charley Uchea. Despite being a show on which shrewdness is applauded, The Apprentice still managed to paint the contestants Joanna Jarjue and Bianca Miller as unreasonably cold. Sometimes exclusion from these programmes altogether is preferable to the excruciating, anxiety-inducing fretting about the backlash they’ll no doubt receive once a series ends.
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