McNair Scholars Research Journal


Criticism of black film production often includes discussions of narrow typecasting and stereotypical role portrayal. Previous research shows that consumers of black films attest that such films are an accurate depiction of black culture. However, consequences of negative stereotypes presented in mainstream media are rarely discussed. The purpose of this study is to define and examine the stereotypes of African American women in film. By way of semiotic film content analysis this research will look at the relationship and function between specific historical stereotypes and the behaviors of female characters in Tyler Perry’s most popular films. This research examines role portrayals in relation to character traits that are historically classified as the “Mammy,” “Sapphire” and “Jezebel” stereotype classifications.