This October 20, 2008 cover of Time Magazine shows an image of then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s face. Coloring of the background and text features white and black set against one another, with Obama’s face divided between black and white as well – although the “black” half is his natural skin tone. Headlines feature the subject of race, stating, “Why the economy is trumping race,” “How worried white voters are turning toward Obama,” “Why Obama’s ‘foreignness’ became the new race card,” and “How Black voters will feel if Obama loses.” Though Obama has been the subject of manyTimecovers, some controversial, this one is unique in its visually striking presentation of the issue of race in the presidential campaign.
Tyler Perry is one of the world's most successful African American entertainment entrepreneurs. Actor, writer, producer and director, Perry's first film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman (2005), kick-started his “Madea” franchise as it made its number one in the box office. This scene comes from Madea’s Family Reunion (2006) in which Madea (played by Perry) talks to her foster child, Nikki, about standing up to bullies. It is exemplary of mix of humor and inspirational messages that have become the trademark of Perry's film empire.
This clip is an interview with Tyra Banks conducted by ABC News’ Cynthia McFadden. The lead-in to the interview describes Banks’ rise from a one-bedroom apartment in South Central Los Angeles to her current status as a wealthy “supermogul.” Banks’ two personas are introduced: a supportive “self-esteem queen” on her daytime talk show, and a harsh “princess of pretty” on America’s Next Top Model. Banks’ tells of overcoming racism to break into the modeling industry, and proclaims that her mission in life is to expand the definition of beauty. The video shows her dramatically criticizing journalists who made disparaging marks about her weight and deriding a woman for bleaching her own and her children’s skin. Yet at the same time, Banks admits that she always wears a hair weave or wig, and that she has likely been successful in modeling due to her light-skin and “anglo” features.
As part of her role as an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) ambassador, Saturday Night Live (SNL) cast member Sasheer Zamata stars in this satirical video that features her and a White male friend walking around a city, talking about gender, racial, and class privilege. The White male friend talks about how far the country has come in terms of prejudice and discrimination and fails to notice as they pass examples of everyday structural and systemic White privilege, such as a billboard featuring another television show about a group of four White men. In their conversation, he continues to make arguments about progress, equality, individualism, and the merits of simply working hard, as Sasheer offers counterpoints to his arguments, pointing out structural and systemic privileges that mask institutionalized discrimination. She is also stopped and frisked by a police officer, racially profiled, and repeatedly cat-called, told to smile, and called a prude for covering up. In the end, he is congratulated for stating that he considers himself a feminist, whereas she is ignored and dismissed when she also says she is a feminist. He suddenly realizes the privileges that Sasheer has been talking about throughout their walk, and states that he gets it and that things are unfair and will not get better if they go ignored and unacknowledged. The video ends with the text, “Women’s equality starts with the person next to you. Be a friend,” and then the ACLU encourages sharing of the video.
At the 67th Emmy Awards in 2015, actress Viola Davis became the first woman of color to ever win the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her portrayal of a lawyer in the television show,How To Get Away With Murder. The actress started her acceptance speech with a quote from American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, acknowledged and paid tribute to the struggles and achievements of past and current women and men of color in the entertainment industry, and talked about the systemic exclusion of people of color from Hollywood and the U.S. entertainment industry. She said, “Let me tell you something. The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”