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About this Episode

The mirror reflects only what it sees – strength, power or insecurities behind the outward face. But inward there is more to glean. For centuries, external forces have rendered Black women subhuman Mammy, Jezebel, tragic mulatto or emasculating beast. Black women have pushed back and are embracing a revolution, of sorts. Centering self, we have moved the dial to shirk off Eurocentric notions of physical beauty. We are also embracing our images with natural hair and rainbow hues on screen, becoming wiser beauty consumers and resisting powers that would diminish and define who we are.

In this Episode

Yoruba Richen

“I’m grateful that when you look at television today we’ve seen such a proliferation of stories, show runners, directors and writers who are black women telling our own story. In order to have the images that we want, we have to be in control of our imagery.”

Amaya Smith

“We need to take back some of our marketplace. It’s always been bizarre to me that as the central consumers of beauty and hair products, someone else besides us markets and sells them to us.”

A’Lelia Bundles

“Madam Walker… put her own image on her products, saying, ‘I am a Black woman, this is beauty. And when you buy my products, you are supporting the black community’.”

Pamela Ferrell

“The hardest nut to crack by far was standing up to the cosmetology cartel, which was determined to prevent braiders from opening businesses under [various] State Cosmetology Acts. It has taken us 32 years to change laws in 41 states.”

Montré  Missouri

Associate Professor in Film, Howard University

“Many of the stereotypes of black women in film and popular culture actually were constructed immediately after emancipation…to counter the notion that [we] should be looked at as fully human or seek socioeconomic or political equality.”

Tamara Jade

“I can do what I want, I can do what I feel, I’m more than a woman – a superwoman. I’m superwoman.”

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