African American Television Programming

African American television programming supports local, national, and global media representations of Black life and culture, with sociopolitical themes that suggest mass media’s traditional and new responses to African American communities. Mass media have used the televisual culture to formulate and highlight Black themes and identities throughout the decades. In the television timeline, Blacks were first characterized from cultural catchphrases such as inferior, mammies, criminal, immoral, or diseased, whereas today’s programming critiques such portrayals and highlights Black culture and identity. After providing some background information on African American culture, this entry explores programming for African American audiences as well as the portrayal of Black culture in such programs.


Within the American performative timeline, there exists minstrel performances (White men dressed in blackface mimicking Black slave behavior ...

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