|Articles, Biography, Communications/Media Studies, History, Media Archive, United States on 2015-11-19 02:43Z by Steven|
Farah J. Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies
In this essay, Griffin brings to the fore two extraordinary black women of our age: First Lady Michelle Obama and entertainment mogul Beyoncé Knowles. Both women signify change in race relations in America, yet both reveal that the history of racial inequality in this country is far from over. As an Ivy League-educated descendent of slaves, Michelle Obama is not just unfamiliar to the mainstream media and the Washington political scene; during the 2008 presidential campaign, she was vilified as angry and unpatriotic. Beyonce, who controls the direction of her career in a way that pioneering black women entertainers could not, has nonetheless styled herself in ways that recall the distinct racial history of the Creole South. Griffin considers how Michelle Obama’s and Beyonce’s use of their respective family histories and ancestry has bolstered or diminished their popular appeal.
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