Hollywood's Representation of African History

There has been much debate about the representation of Africa (past and present) in popular culture; specifically, in the music and film industries. For example, in Taylor Swift’s music video for her song "Wildest Dreams," set in colonial Africa, the representation of Africa is directly through the lens of white Western lives. The trope of white colonial romance in Africa is a main element of the music video.

Why is popular culture so invested in this theme of white colonial romance in Africa and how does this perpetuate racist stereotypes in the media today? How does hollywood and popular culture’s celebration of white colonial privilege promote racist stereotypes and silence African agency and voice?

  • I think you have already hit a key element in this topic when it comes to promoting racist stereotypes and silencing the African voice - representing Africa through the lens of white Western lives. So long as Africa and Africans continue to be represented through a white lens, stereotypes will continue to perpetuate and African voices will only be overshadowed by the white ones. This goes all the way back to Joseph Conrad's "The Heart of Darkness," if not further, to today's "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett. Only when the African voice can represent itself, like amazing Harlem writers like Zora Neale Hurston try, will it resonate over white privilege. This is a fascinating subject. Good luck! – selysrivera 8 years ago

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