Faculty Mentor

Dr. Pamela Nettleton, Journalism and Media Studies


Aaron Bledsoe is a senior majoring in Digital Media with a minor in Social Welfare and Justice. Aaron is an evening anchor for Marquette University Television News as well as the President of Christian Fellowship of Marquette. Upon graduation in May 2014, He plans to pursue a masters degree in broadcast journalism and a PhD focusing in mass communication and multicultural studies.



Download Full Text (886 KB)

Download Aaron Bledsoe presentation (376 KB)

Download Aaron Bledsoe poster (724 KB)


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.

Publication Date

Summer 2013


African American Studies | Film and Media Studies

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