The Listening Post

Mammy, Jezebel and Sapphire: Stereotyping Black women in media

Submissive, sexy, sassy – the three reductive depictions of Black women that we continue to see on our screens today.

The Mammy, Jezebel and Sapphire are three stereotypes of Black women that have been around in Western culture for centuries. These simplistic depictions are rooted in the slave trade and live on today.

Faced with an entertainment industry that is dominated by men – mostly white – Black women have gone online to tell their stories. And all the clicks and likes mean that media executives are finally starting to take notice.

The Listening Post‘s Johanna Hoes reports on the media’s stereotyping of Black women and the push for change in an industry where diversity has been too long in coming.


Kovie Biakolo – Culture writer and multiculturalism scholar

Francesca Sobande – Lecturer of Digital Media Studies, Cardiff University

Naeemah Clark – Professor of Cinema and Television Arts, Elon University and author, Diversity in US Mass Media

Babirye Bukilwa – Actor and playwright