You Are What You Watch: Roundtable Discussion on Women in the Media

By: Cerella Ferebee

To jump start Lincoln University’s Sisters Week, guest speaker Joan Morgan had an informal styled interview with Professor Emery Petchauer, Feb. 6, in the Ware Center Theater. Morgan, who previously worked for Vibe and Essence Magazine as an Executive Editor, discussed issues dealing with feminism perspectives on Hip Hop culture, the black woman’s identity and relationships.

Morgan’s first book, “When Chicken Heads Come Home to Roost: A Hip Hop Feminist breaks it down,” gave a feminist perspective on the world of Hip-Hop.

“The book is about a woman’s experience growing up in South Bronx. Hip-Hop helped shape myself into a feminist,” said Morgan.

Morgan said there are different parts and types of feminism, but to be a feminist you have to be conscious about what you engage in.

Petchauer brought up a recent controversial comment said  by rapper Jay Electronica, who asked his live audience if women like to be choked during sex. He told his audience to look to the left and to the right and then said you just looked at a woman who probably likes to be choked.

Morgan said that it’s important to hold people accountable for things they say through twitter and other social media outlets. From a feminist perspective Morgan said that he put the audience in an uncomfortable position, which gives women the chance to speak out about domestic violence.

Morgan said that today Hip Hop has changed because music videos are promoted more, so the youth are bombarded with images of what is deemed as acceptable in society.

“Read media for what it’s projecting then the reality of what you are,” said Morgan

Morgan expressed her view of Nicki Minaj’s music video “Stupid Hoe.” In the video Minaj is shown dancing in a cage with her tiny waist and large hips and buttocks, but Morgan compares how this scene is similar to the suffering that Sarah Baartman endured, while her body was exploited in a cage.

The conversation shifted to film and black women’s roles in the most recent film, ‘The Help.’ Morgan said that Hollywood loves to show black woman subservient in this time period and it’s an image that keeps reoccurring in films today.

Morgan believes that if Viola Davis was to receive an Academy Award then it would be tragic because it would be another African American woman receiving an award for being a maid.

Morgan also touched on the history of the phrase “strong black woman,” which comes from slavery. Black women were treated like animals, being tortured with rape and hard work in the fields. Black women were fit to survive the harsh treatments during slavery which made them strong black women.

The floor was opened up for questions and comments from the audience.

“I learned a lot from her experiences that helped me with my experience. She used a lot of good analogies in life that helped us understand life,” said senior Dion Jalen Buie.

Miss Lincoln University, Nava Goodman was in attendance and expressed what she learned from the guest speaker.

“I picked up her reference to women today compared to women in the past. Her best thing is not to read a lot into language, people shouldn’t be so surfaced and should look a little deeper into lyrics,” said Goodman.

Morgan wanted her audience to make love your practice instead of your goal.  She suggested that if you love is your goal then it will always evade you but if you practice love daily then love will be returned to you in an alternate form.

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