Realizing Representation

“For us to receive people, events, and even future possibilities as meaningful and real, they need a symbolic presence, something standing for them, and nothing concentrates, distributes, or withholds that presence like our everyday media.” (Ouellette & Gray 172).

As soon as I read this quote about representation, it resonated with me. When I read it, I thought about how during my childhood as I would watch television, I would rarely ever see women who looked like me. As I got older, I noticed that not only were there not many women who looked like me on the screen, but that there were not that many women of color given a chance to work behind the scenes either (writing, producing, directing, etc.) In the past few years or so, women of color, specifically Black women, have been given more opportunities to showcase their work and creativity, even on primetime television. As a young Black woman hoping to work in entertainment, representation of Black women in media and entertainment is very important to me. The first few people I thought of in terms of this progression of representation and inclusion of Black women in entertainment are Issa Rae and Ava Duvernay. However, I wanted to include a picture of not only newer faces in media, but also some more established ones. This is why I included the picture of an Essence Cover that includes the two women I just mentioned, along with Mara Brock Akil, Shonda Rhimes, and Debbie Allen, whose careers span much longer than the rest of the women. I feel the line on the cover of the magazine “How Issa, Mara, Debbie, Shonda & Ava Are Telling Our Stories & Crushing It!” displays the importance of representation and people having their stories told.