Media tagged African American

Key & Peele - Negrotown

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            “Negrotown” is a five-minute clip created by comedy duo Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele for their television show Key & Peele on Comedy Central. Key & Peele uses satire, comedy, and popular culture in order to address current social issues, especially about race, gender, and ethnicity. “Negrotown” premiered on their show in September 2015 in their final episode. The sketch begins with Key walking down a dimly lit alleyway while suspenseful piano music plays in the background. A white police officer pulls up in his vehicle and tells Key, an African-American man, to “hold it right there.” The two get into a verbal disagreement about what Key did to deserve being stopped by the police officer. Angered, the officer forcefully hits Key’s head into the police cruiser. After this, a homeless-looking man approaches Key and the two African-American men walk down the dark alley together, which ultimately leads into a bright magical portal that transports them to “Negrotown,” a “utopia for black people.” Here, the man who once looked homeless is dressed in a bright pink suit and joyfully sings about the positive aspects of Negrotown. A chorus of people recite lyrics about Negrotown having no “trigger-happy cops,” no white people “stealing your culture and thinking it’s theirs,” and no people making you their “token black friend.” In short, Negrotown is a place where African-Americans do not face any racial prejudice or discrimination which occurs in the outside world. After the song and dance about Negrotown is over, the clip goes back to the same back alley and we see Key laying on the ground, forced to face reality again. The police officer asks him to get up. Key looks at him surprised, stating, “I thought I was going to Negrotown.” The officer answers, “You are.” 

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Kobe Bryant - Black Mamba

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This 2011 commercial for Nike highlights the LA Lakers' Kobe Bryant, nicknamed “The Black Mamba”. Bryant is depicted as a fierce figure – strong, aggressive and dominant. It befits his dangerous nickname – the Black Mamba is the longest venomous snake in Africa.

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Lane Bryant - Exotic African American Women

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This print advertisement for women’s clothing store Lane Bryant depicts a woman of color modeling clothing termed “exotic.” The text reads, “Channel your natural instincts in this season’s hottest tribal trends. Make a statement with Batik and Ikat* patterns, bold sunset shades, and earthy accents of feathers, wooden beads, and leather. Exotic looks, inspired by nature.” The text, juxtaposed with the model, alludes to the exoticized and primitivized nature of the mediated black female subject.

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Lebron Rise - Nike

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This 2010 advertisement for Nike features NBA superstar LeBron James. Produced when LeBron was making his controversial move to the Miami Heat, he speaks directly to the camera, asking the viewer: “Should I be who you want me to be?” The ad concludes with the famous Nike slogan: “Just Do It.” The advertisement is a direct response to the intense public and media criticism LeBron has received during his playing career.

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Lopez Tonight - Snoop Dogg's DNA Test

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This clip comes from a 2010 episode of the late-night show “Lopez Tonight.” Host George Lopez’s guest is rapper Snoop Dogg, who is there to receive the results from a DNA test that investigated his ethnic background. Central to the clip is a competition between Snoop Dogg and former professional basketball player Charles Barkley to see “who is blacker?” When the DNA test results are revealed, Snoop Dogg is found to have 71% Sub-Saharan African heritage, compared to Barkley’s 75%. Lopez concludes the segment by giving Snoop a gag gift of “things that white people like.”

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