Media tagged Race & Ethnicity

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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King of the Hill - Model Minority

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This clip from the animated Fox television show King of the Hill aired in 2004. In it, Connie and her family are upset to hear that she has been rejected from a prestigious summer school. When her father sets up a meeting to protest this, the admissions officer informs him that Connie was not accepted because she is one of many “boatloads” of “overachieving Asians”. Connie's parents are depicted as a highly caricatured Asian-American stereotype – from their thick accents to their obsessiveness with their daughter's success in school. With that said, the show is intended to be a satire that uses humor – including ethnic humor – to point out problems of discrimination in society.

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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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Kraft Milk Bite Bars

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This ad plays upon the familiar trope of a family meeting, in which a child sits on the living room couch across from both parents. It introduces the “MilkBite” product - a “hybrid” cereal bar that combines granola and milk. The ad begins with an anthropomorphized snack bar accusing his out-of-frame parents of “not thinking” about what life would be like for him, and then pans to reveal his mother and father – a glass of milk and a bowl of dry cereal.

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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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