Dr. Pamela Nettleton, Journalism and Media Studies
This qualitative study will examine the way in which the masculinity of African American men is portrayed in films through a textual analysis of the leading male character in movies that have been awarded the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture. I’ll be performing a textual analysis of the following movies: “Flight”, “Book of Eli”, and “The Great Debaters”. Through the analysis of the main character, I discuss the following: types of marginalization experienced in the film, interactions/relations with (African American) women, as well as the importance that his education and/or occupation will play in his identity as a man. Using these factors, I argue that these characters are able to preserve their masculinity as a means of escaping the emasculation created in a society that marginalizes men of color in film. Donald Bogle points out that in the past, Black men have been portrayed as either “childlike, docile or happy as the role of a servant,”, or as an extremely violent threat to society. Using the studies of Stuart Hall, I’ll be able examine the extent to which representation affects the portrayal of a cultural group and how organizations like the NAACP Image Awards help in providing more of a positive acknowledgement of people of color in the media.
African American Studies | Film and Media Studies
Bledsoe, Aaron E., "Aaron E. Bledsoe - The Man Behind the Mask: The Progression of Masculinity in African American Male Characters as seen in films Awarded the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Pictur" (2013). Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program 2013. 10.