Speculative Film and Moving Images by or about Black Women and Girls: Watch It! examines depictions of African-descended women and girls in twentieth and twenty-first century filmmaking. Topics include a discursive analysis of stereotypes; roles garnered by Halle Berry, the only Black woman to receive an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role; the promise of characters, relationships, and scripts found in works ranging from Altered Carbon, Lovecraft Country, and HBO’s Watchmen series; and a closing chapter that considers the legacy of Black women in horror. Jeffrey-Legette illustrates the ways in which recent texts explore the trauma endured by people of African descent in the United States of America in evocative ways. In doing so, she provides a compelling interpretation of prevalent, well-received, and recurring images of Black women and girls in American popular culture.
Karima K. Jeffrey-Legette is associate professor of English at Hampton University.
Chapter One: Mothers of a New World in Select 20th/21st Century Apocalyptic SF Films Who, Despite Their Promise, Still Appear to be a Mammy, Hagar, or Jezebels
Chapter Two: ‘Ode to Halle’ (But Should This be the Case?): The Face of Black Women in SF Films
Chapter Three: Black Love in the World of Speculative Fiction - An Argument for ‘Transhumanism' and ‘Gynocentric Androgyny' in Altered Carbon, HBO’s Watchmen and Lovecraft Country
Chapter Four: Black Girl Magic’ in A Wrinkle in Time, The Darkest Minds, and Fast Color - Fascinating Telekinetic/Telepathic Beings
Chapter Five: What Are We Doing to Our Girls?!?!?-An Examination of Three, Twentieth/Twenty-First Century Black Girl Vampires Who Will Not Only Survive but Possibly Precipitate the Destruction of Humanity
Chapter Six: Black Women/Girls in Horror Films-H[er]story is an American Gothic Story of Resiliency, Trauma, Abuse, and Fear
This project fulfills its promise, as stated by author Karima Jeffrey-Legette, “to discuss works by and about Black women and girls as they dynamically explore, write about, and/or appear in speculative film and moving images.” Jeffrey-Legette aptly explores “the (mis)representation of Black women/girls in these imagined spaces that entertain” through a thorough review of various texts. The judicious use of reference material, across multiple genres such as film and television, literature, and streaming videos supports Jeffrey-Legette’s critical reflections and analyses on the imagined Black/Brown body/human/humanoid in future and alternative contexts. This contextualization of various works of speculative fiction within an African-centered framework brings a thoughtful, necessary, and critical lens to understanding the “Black images [that] are quite pervasive in the rendering of the speculative today.” It is also a project that complements earlier foundational work like Thomas’ Dark Matter and brings into sharp relief how the absence and marginalizing of Black and Brown women and girls as we imagine the future is not only misrepresentation on a large-scale but actually unimaginative and lacking in creativity in some cases. As a scholar and educator, I can confidently assert that Speculative Film and Moving Images by or about Black Women and Girls: Watch It! is a must have for anyone engaged in writing about, writing on, or simply enjoying speculative fiction today, especially work that features Black women and girls.