And I know I’m not the only one that picked up on this trend.
In the past year, progress has been made in the media industry in regards to recognizing black women. Many black actresses have been cast as leads in varying television series, such as Nicole Beharie in Sleepy Hollow, Gabrielle Union in Being Mary Jane, and we mustn’t forget the overwhelming success of black writer Shonda Rhimes’ show, Scandal, starring the incredibly talented Kerry Washington. I just recently even learned about Tika Sumpter’s leading role on Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots. We also get to look forward to the debut of comedian Sasheer Zamata, who has recently joined the cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, after almost seven years without a black woman on the team. As a young woman whose adolescence saw very little black women in leading roles on TV, I was tickled pink by all this good news.
Sadly, a not-so-noteworthy theme amongst some of these television shows has caught my eye. Sumpter, Union, and Washington all play very intelligent, independent, and gorgeous women who happen to be involved with married men. So much so that a lot of the storyline is based around these interactions. For two of these series, the men are older white men with a lot of clout. While I am all for interracial dating, this was not exactly what I had in mind.
So what gives? Are we glorifying infidelity? Is it okay suddenly because it is a black woman and a white man, not a black man and a white woman? Is a black woman’s sexuality inseparable from adultery? Are these women actually enjoying their taboo relationships? These are all things to dwell on. We can be successful, gorgeous, and brilliant… and still a secret plaything to some cheating husband. And we might actually be okay with that. Sure, it makes for a gripping story, but you cannot ignore the message being portrayed here. Don’t black women deserve happy, healthy relationships as well? I would love to see some of these characters pursuing them.
I will talk about the magical birth control they are on in another post.