Black Celebrity, Racial Politics, and the Press: Framing by Sarah J. Jackson

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By Sarah J. Jackson

Shifting understandings and ongoing conversations approximately race, star, and protest within the twenty-first century demand a more in-depth exam of the evolution of dissent by means of black celebrities and their reception within the public sphere. This publication makes a speciality of the best way the mainstream and black press have lined situations of debatable political dissent by way of African American celebrities from Paul Robeson to Kanye West. Jackson considers the subsequent questions: 1) What detailed corporation is offered to celebrities with racialized identities to provide opinions of yank tradition? 2) How have reporters in either the mainstream and black press constrained or facilitated this organization via framing? What does this say concerning the various position of journalism in American racial politics? three) How have framing developments concerning those figures shifted from the mid-twentieth century to the twenty-first century? via a sequence of case reviews that still comprises Eartha Kitt, Sister Souljah, and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Jackson illustrates the moving public narratives and old moments that either restrict and let African American celebrities within the wake of constructing public politicized statements that critique the approved racial, monetary, and armed forces structures within the United States.

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Additional info for Black Celebrity, Racial Politics, and the Press: Framing Dissent

Sample text

We take it! We’ll have our meetings and our concerts all over these United States. That’s right. And we’ll see that our women and our children are not harmed again! We will understand that the surest way to get police protection is to have it very clear that we’ll protect ourselves, and good! 19 The concert organizers quickly rescheduled the show for the following week and enlisted local union members and black World War II veterans as security for Robeson and the concert grounds. 1). 20 The second concert, attended by twenty thousand fans and supporters and protected by a line of arm-in-arm trade unionists, went on as planned.

Its members where driven by a blind bigotry in an attempt to deprive American citizens of their constitutional rights. They chose intimidation and violence. . 24 Clearly, both of these editorials deploy narratives that value the rights seen inherent to American democracy, and both present Communism and violence as forces which undermine this democracy. However, the difference in the application of these values demonstrates how editors serving segregated publics varied in worldview. 25 Dewey’s order for state police surely could have been equally reported as an effort to prevent violence as a result of anti-Robeson (or anti-Communist) sentiment by local groups planning to protest, but such constructions, which would have implicated others than Robeson and his fans, never occurred in the mainstream press.

48 The alternative possibility that the violence was “precipitated” by the veterans’ “insistence” on demonstrating against Robeson, or that it was anti-Communist groups who were being “allowed to create riots,” was not made available in mainstream discourse. While much mainstream discourse constructed Robeson as intentionally perpetuating violence and Communist propaganda, some also constructed him as simply being used as a pawn by unidentified (but threatening) Communist powers in a larger plot.

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