Hollywood’s depiction of Black women typically leaves much to be desired, and its portrayal of black mothers is no exception.
Taking a glance at recent movies gives a clear indication of what little regard the movie industry has for African American mothers.
In “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” the closest representation of a black mother was J-Lo. To add more insult to that injury, her character was in the process of adopting an African baby.
In Uma Thurman’s recent production “Motherhood” there were no black women at all.
Finally, in “I Don’t Know How She Does It”, again, no black mothers.
So, how are black mothers usually typified in movies?
According to Kimberly Seals Allers, journalist and commentator of African-American motherhood issues, Hollywood black mothers are depicted as “crack heads, single mothers with deadbeat-dad issues, welfare queens, violent, uneducated or as neck-rolling sassy maids and smart-talking fishwives. Alternatively, we are being portrayed by a man. In a fat suit. And a wig…We are rarely seen as nurturing mothers or (gasp!) intentional parents with committed husbands, let alone successful women who don trendy shoes, fabulous handbags and have some of the same romantic-comedy-worthy struggles as any other parent or would-be parent.”
This issue is no different on television, where the depiction of black mothers on reality shows and other programming is far more damaging than their absence on the big screen. The media has much work ahead to accurately portray black mothers in their actual light.