For my blog post I wanted to explore the problem Olivia Pope from Scandal creates for Black woman fandoms and how Annalise Keating from How to Get Away With Murder addresses some of these issues. Levine explains that “Black female communities typically work to fill those racially specific gaps to make Olivia Pope a culturally specific Black Women.” Kerry Washington plays Olivia Pope on Scandal and is an rare and influential Black female lead character on a primetime popular show. However, Levine discusses how her character on the show doesn’t address certain racial topics or issues and leaves audiences feeling like they are missing something.
I wanted to show the contrast between Olivia always looking perfect, often with her hair straightened and bangs perfectly swept to the side. Olivia’s always-perfect hair is one of the gaps that the female fandom must fill in to relate to her. Levine addresses these gaps, “Even in a case of a Black female lead character, then, Black female audiences have to work to find ways of seeing Olivia and her actions as resonating with their experience.” Instead of representing black women and their natural hair or the work put into hairstyles, there is a reach that the audience must make on their own. The scene of Annalise and Olivia in the hair salon is a rare reference to Black women’s hair, and is allowed thanks to the presence of another Black woman on the show. Annalise’s scene shows a much more vulnerable side of her, she is slowly taking off her wig at night in the privacy of her home. She wipes away her makeup and revealing her natural beauty. Levine writes “Black women’s hair and the discourses around it are not pathological but a set of rituals that, just as easily as any fan text, can invoke communal relations among Black ladies.” It’s important to show an authentic representation of this for black woman to relate to and understand. How to Get Away with Murder bridges these gaps and provides the opportunity to Black women to connect and join the fandom without having to work to feel related to Annalise’s character.
To create my post I took clips from Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder overlaid them with quotes from the reading using iMovie. I also used a clip from the crossover between the two shows that involves both the women together. I added in music and transitions to make the movie smoother.