Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Pan-African Studies

Degree Program

Pan-African Studies, PhD

Committee Chair

Story, Kaila

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Tkweme, W. S.

Committee Member

Tkweme, W. S.

Committee Member

Fleming, Tyler

Committee Member

Smith-Jones, Soibhan

Author's Keywords

Black reality television; stereotypes; black women; basketball wives; black feminist theory; cultivation theory


Does reality television serve as solely a form of entertainment, or could reality television also be maintaining hegemonic beliefs and reinforcing biased views of Black women? Since 2010, Vh1’s Basketball Wives has given audiences the opportunities to entertain themselves by watching women who are/were married to, dating, or are the mothers of children fathered by professional basketball players. Despite the show’s name, few members of the cast are currently married and audiences only get mere glimpses of the cast in motherly or marital interactions. So, what does Basketball Wives offer audiences who tune in to watch Black women for entertainment? The answer is negative stereotypical representations. This study uses season eight of Basketball Wives as a case study for assessing elements of violent behavior and colorism. The angry Black woman stereotype is one of the most prominent stereotypes represented in media, and reality television specifically. Dramatic build-ups, verbal degradation, and physical altercations are three of the primary elements that makes shows such as Basketball Wives so popular and entertaining. The constant visual display of Black women in stereotypical and degrading manners vi maintains white hegemonic beliefs of allegedly inferior Black womanhood, and therefore the passive acceptance of Black women continuing to be depicted in such a manner. Further, this research focuses on issues of colorism and utilizes cast member OG’s assertations that her mistreatment by other cast members was a result, at least in part, of her fellow cast members’ colorist bias towards her darker skin.