Communication professor Ronald L. Jackson II recently published two books analyzing the media portrayal of African-Americans in society today and the way authors and directors created their own meanings about what it means to be African-American.
“Interpreting Tyler Perry” discusses director Tyler Perry’s popularity among African-American viewers as well as the controversy his films have created. While Perry has had much box office success with his character Madea, some social critics and Hollywood celebrities argue that Perry’s movies advance stereotypical depictions of African-Americans.
His other book, “Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation,” brings together contributors from a wide range of cultural perspectives to analyze the history and evolution of black comics. This evolution includes the representation of black people within comics and cartoons, the sometimes latent political meanings and social commentaries within comics, and the contemporary significance of black comics in American society. The book also explores how people perceive African-Americans and how African-Americans are able to create their own meanings.
“When we look at the large spectrum of books that historicize American life, African-Americans’ contributions are too often centered around the specters of slavery and racism, two tragic realities that alone do not come close to defining African-American identities,” says Jackson. “The value of these books is that they unabashedly celebrate African-American lives with a sense of dignity, respect and truth.”
“Interpreting Tyler Perry” and “Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation” are both available for purchase on Amazon. “Interpreting Tyler Perry” was co-edited with Jamel Santa Cruze Bell, an assistant professor of communication at St. Louis University. “Black Comics” was co-edited with Sheena Howard, an assistant professor of communication at Rider University.
Jackson is a communications professor in the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at UC.
SOURCE: A&S News