Examinations of the unprofitability of authentic Blackness: insights from Black media professionals

Charisse L’Pree Corsbie-Massay, Breagin K. Riley, Raiana Soraia de Carvalho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Current research describes how the history of Black representation in the United States’ mainstream media–both on screen and behind the scenes–impacts Black media professionals and complicates the reproduction of authentic Blackness in the twenty-first century. Coupling Hall’s model of encoding and decoding with media production studies, we analyze 22 interviews with self-identified Black media professionals at a Black-owned full-service communications company that targets Black consumers for mainstream brands. Findings suggest that mediated representations of Black people, which are inescapable and influential, are also narrow because white audiences’ perceptions of authentic Blackness determine which depictions of Blackness are profitable. By contrast, Black media producers argue that profitable Blackness is not authentic because it does not include the diversity of the Black experience. We leverage participants’ understandings of Blackness and the role of media to provide practical insights into how media industries can incorporate notions of diversity and inclusion to create authentic mediated Blackness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)327-343
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Applied Communication Research
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Black/African American
  • Race
  • encoding/decoding
  • media industry
  • stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics

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