Posted by: chrisforde915 | April 6, 2015

Black Girls Rock vs. Traditional Influencers

Black Girls Rock (BGR) is a historic and monumental show that highlights the accomplishments of exceptional women of color. The mission of Black Girls Rock is to change the world by empowering black girls to lead, innovate and serve. To accomplish this goal BGR seek to provide resources and positive exposure for young girls to develop positive identity, build self-esteem and self-worth to combat the often seen negative images promoted in mass media.

Tonight my girlfriend and I had the opportunity to watch the Black Girls Rock 2015 award show. I was thoroughly impressed with the award show and at times found myself smiling uncontrollably the moment the camera would pan across the audience and catch the excitement illuminating from a young girl in the crowd as their favorite musician, actress, or idol graced the stage. Every word spoken, affirmed their worth, highlighting their internal and external beauty, intelligence and constantly built up their confidence.

As I was reading Qualitative Research Methods by Sarah J. Tracy, for this weeks blog post, I was instantly drawn to Exercise 2.2 in Chapter 2. This particular exercise ask to describe an issue or social problem that sparked my curiosity and I knew exactly what I wanted to further explore.

Research Questions:

  • How are young girls affected by the negative imagery of black women in television? What are the lasting impressions carried on into adulthood?
  • At what age do black girls beauty standards and self esteem decrease due to lack of representation in the media?

The emic qualitative study is warranted and valuable in order to pursue the aforementioned research questions.  As a researcher it is imperative to access the perspective of the black girls who are at the forefront of the issue. There has and continue to be negative experiences and perceptions of “traditional” beauty and “acceptable” standard of hair that young black girls face ( Ex: Vanessa Van Dyke). In order to come up with a solution, the point of view of the individuals facing these issues must be addressed and taken into account.

In regards to sensitizing concepts to help focus the research, issues pertaining to self-esteem, self identity, and self-hate definitely align with the research questions. Combining different types of data would be beneficial to answer the research questions and provide solutions. In depth interviews with the girls would provide confidential and secure conversations in a safe environment to really uncover their perspective surrounding a personal and sensitive issue. The use of a narrative inquiry would also prove as a resource to further understand the experiences lived by older women, when they were young girls, to gauge the effect if any it had in their adult life. Lastly, focus groups with young girls, watching cartoons, movies, or television shows and the role that black girls/women are playing would be helpful in identifying how that affects their outlook and identity.

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