This article examines television and print biographies of television talk show host and producer Oprah Winfrey. Conventional biographical narratives construct a token "Oprah" persona whose life story resonates with and reinforces the ideology of the American Dream, implying the accessibility of this dream to black Americans despite the structural economic and political barriers posed in a racist society to achievement and survival. The article develops theories of tokenism, biography, autobiography, and hegemony to analyze both racial and gendered dimensions of tokenist biography. It describes tokenism as a rhetorical mechanism of liberal hegemony with regard to race and class. The essay challenges recent redefinitions of hegemony as happy "concordance" and suggests that critics cannot assume that black stars and texts automatically represent difference and resistance in popular culture.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||Critical Studies in Media Communication|
|State||Published - Jun 1 1996|
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