Studying Beyoncé and Black Women in U.S. Popular Culture Pt. 2

A 57 Second Lecture

Lecture Transcript

I’m Nikki Lane and I’m going to be your professor.

There are three pivotal things you need to do in order to approach Beyoncé and black women in U.S. popular culture as subjects of critical thought.

The first thing you need is a history lesson.

Now the second thing that you need to do is think about the cultural, political, and economic realities of both experiences of black women within a particular context, as well as that particular representation of black women–where it’s situated within a specific cultural context.

Let’s look at Hattie McDaniel in “Gone with the Wind.”

So, (1) think about when that movie comes out (ask – What’s happening in the world that might effect black women when the film comes out?); (2) then think about the era that the film is depicting. (ask – How does the film represent black women characters? “Gone With the Wind” depicts a black woman during the era of Reconstruction). There’s a tension between the two.

Gone With the Wind is a 1930s (re)imagining of a black woman living in the 1860s.

Suggested Reading

Stevens, John D. “The black reaction to Gone with the Wind.” Journal of Popular Film 2, no. 4 (1973): 366-371.

Ryan, Tim A. Calls and Responses: The American Novel of Slavery Since Gone With the Wind. LSU Press, 2008.