Wale Expresses Frustration For Poor Portrayal of Black Women in Hollywood

by Samantha Denäe

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The media’s portrayal of African American women has been over sexualized that it’s pretty normal. To see a young lady showing off her body and essentially becoming famous for it on social media shows just how naïve Black Hollywood has become. When people base their opinions off of Instagram likes and become ok with being looked as an object and not as a person speaks volumes. No one seems to be satisfied with the educated woman who would rather discuss more deep, pressing matters than showing off their curves.

Even television has become centralized around sex with shows like Being Mary Jane and Scandal and ads that coin the phrase, “Sex sells”, but is that really what women have come down to? Figuring the only way for them to get ahead or get noticed is by enhancing their assets just to show them off?

One person has grown tired of the way women are being portrayed in television and online and is trying to change people’s perception of the African American woman.

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Recently, Wale sat down with NecoleBitchie, to discuss the visual for his single “The Body”, in which as you would not expect, did not show any ‘bodies’. Its leading lady, a model named Mariah, is a beautiful woman who shows off her natural beauty instead of her body parts.

To share his thoughts on how frustrating the representation of black women are in society, he wrote in an exclusive blog:

“I have honestly been sick and tired of our representation in the entertainment world. I feel like they curve “us” as a whole, then every blue moon they allow a pass for a Black person and we’re supposed to throw a party for it.

My question is: What happened to Hollywood?

I remember Lisa Bonet and a plethora of other beautiful Black women on “Different World.” I remember princess Jada [Pinkett]. I used to daydream about her. I was only in elementary school but when I first saw Jada I was in love. Nothing about this princess screamed, “Sex!” My mind was allowed to play with the idea of what lies under this fully clothed “around the way” girl. True, perhaps a child shouldn’t have such fantasies but that’s besides the point.

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Black women were represented in such a way that they were not hyper-sexualized objects created by doctors with the sole intent to take pictures, just to add on even more enhancements- be it Photoshop or an abundance of makeup with a sprinkle of good lighting.

When Jeremih and I did a video for my single,”The Body,” it hurt my soul coming to the realization that there is hardly any positivity in Black Hollywood. Years ago I wanted to do a short movie for a single, with legendary director John Singleton. I’m not sure if he didn’t believe in me or if he plain old didn’t have the time to do it, but it never happened.

However, even if we were to do something that represented our culture, where would we start? Casting calls via Instagram? Today’s directors head straight to Instagram for their next star, with casting more or less being determined by how many “likes” a woman receives on the regular.

“The Body,” was an attempt to get us, as Black people, headed in a more elevated direction. Mariah [the model I used in the video] kind of epitomized what I felt a normal beautiful “round the way” girl looked like. These days, we spend so much time focusing on “that assssss, ” we forget how much of love’s chemistry is contingent to a beautiful face and genuine personality. Personalities that used to cut through our television screens when Jada would flex that B’more attitude in a scene. The authenticity back when there was no desire to portray women as just an over-sexualized, clay-like-body to Instagram-obsessed people!

Yes, I’m aware that my latest single is called “The Body.” I also am aware we that barely showed the body… Maybe, just maybe, I thought I could trick these dudes into looking a little deeper. And if only for one video, bring back the glory days of a more genuinely prestigious, “Black Hollywood.”

Do you think there will ever be an appropriate representation of black women in Hollywood and how intelligent we really are?

Check out Wale’s “The Body” video here!

Follow me on Instagram @samanthadenae08