The (Implicit and Explicit) Whiteness of the Golden Globe Protests

Although last night’s Golden Globes celebrated the silence breakers who spoke up about sexual abuse and assault, the entire conversation was dominated by white women, and more importantly, controlled by a white narrative.

This is unsurprising given the historical dominance of white women in American feminist movements, but with the recent discussions of intersectionality and greater public awareness of the disproportionate impact of sexual harassment and assault on women of color and working-class women (as well as LGBTQ women, which were not mentioned at any time in the night), I had hoped that these complicated conversations would have appeared in the actual content of the show. Instead, they were red carpet fodder at best. Continue reading

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New Student Convocation at Syracuse University

I had the honor of delivering the faculty address to incoming Syracuse University Students. Much thanks to my colleague, Rochelle L. Ford, for capturing such an important moment in my academic career. The title of my talk was, “I will make you uncomfortable.” The longer remarks are available below the video.

tl;dw: We must embrace discomfort to learn.

Continue reading

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Master Class: Psychology of Fake News

I will be teaching a master class at the Chautauqua Institute on the Psychology of Fake News on Tuesday, August 15. You can sign up here:

Full Description: Fake news is not new. Its current incarnation is the outcome of several legislative, social, and technological shifts over the past 150 years, including but not limited to business strategies, media industry deregulation, audience fragmentation, and communication technologies that make every consumer into a producer. This talk outlines the relationship between audiences and media, explores how newspaper, broadcast, and digital journalism deploy psychological needs to garner ratings, and describes journalistic strategies that promote media literacy.


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What is Blackness?

To be presented in Panel: “From Black-ish to Black Lives Matter: Communicating Blackness in the 21st Century” at the National Communication Association (NCA). Dallas, TX.

Blackness is simultaneously a category, a group, a culture, a community, and an identity that varies between individuals. The current research is an exploratory investigation into definitions of “Blackness” through semi-structured interviews with employees at an African American targeted advertising agency (N = 35). Participants were asked to define Blackness in general, their individual Blackness (i.e., “my Blackness”), the future of Blackness, and the role of media in establishing and promoting Blackness. Participants’ definitions of Blackness were varied, but a few key themes emerged: Blackness involved an awareness of one’s history, a shared experience, and a comfort in one’s current skin with an idealized hope for the future. Even though this definition informed much the advertising content produced at this agency, participants expressed frustration over the conflict between their individual Blackness and the general expectations of Blackness, but were excited for new communication technologies that allowed them embrace these contradictions.

Summary of the Panel: From Black-ish to Black Lives Matter: Communicating Blackness in the 21st Century

Blackness is multifaceted; it is both local and global, lived and mediated, homogenous and heterogeneous. This panel will discuss communicating the diversity of Blackness in the 21st century through media and interpersonal communication strategies.

The first two panelists will examine how trends in media industry converge with self-concepts and interpersonal interactions to affect the development of Blackness in predominantly Black communities. Charisse L’Pree Corsbie-Massay is a social psychologist who researches media use and identity construction and will present findings from semi-structured interviews with employees at a African-American-targeted advertising agency regarding how different definitions of Blackness affect content production. Jamila A. Cupid specializes in public relations and strategic communications and will explore how diverse Blackness is fostered and represented at HBCUs through classroom activities, extracurricular events, and media discourse.

The final three panelists will focus on the representation of Blackness in American media, including film, television, and literature, to demonstrate narrative trends relating to national identity, authenticity, and intra-group diversity. As an intercultural communication scholar, Kami Jamil Anderson investigates the shifting identity of Black people across cultures and will describe how bilingual Black people are represented in literature. Omotayo Banjo Adesagba researches representation and audience responses to cultural media and will address the politics of authenticity in the visual narrative of Southside with You, a 2016 film about the Obamas’ first date. Shavonne Shorter specializes in organizational communication and will analyze how the television show Black-ish disrupts stereotypical narratives of Blackness by portraying 21st century Black life as nuanced and ever-evolving.


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Laughing With vs. Laughing At: Seeing satire through a marginalized lens

To be presented in Panel: ““Funny Feminists: Comedy and/as Resistance.” Presented at the National Communication Association (NCA). Dallas, TX.

Satire is the use of humor, irony, or exaggeration to expose and criticize social absurdities. By its very nature, satire requires an audience knowledgeable of these absurdities, but the hegemonic dominance of a White, Christian, heterosexual, middle class, male lens, inhibits the ability of marginalized satire to affect audience attitudes, despite an increase in user-generated satire via digital media (e.g., Reductress, Black Twitter). The current research provides a timeline of satire, both mainstream and marginalized, across different platforms to describe effective
satirical strategies, or content patterns that encourage audiences to better understand the experiences of others.
(96 words)

Satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize absurdities, particularly in contemporary politics or other topical issues. By its very nature, satire requires audiences to come to the joke with an an awareness of reality’s absurdities, and a willingness to mock them. However, much of our satire comes from the lens of White heterosexual, Christian, middle class men, the same group that has historical defined the consensus American audience for years, making it difficult for mainstream audiences to understand and appreciate content that satirizes marginalized experiences.

The effects of asynchronous meanings between the satirist and the audience is a common refrain in the experiences of prominent comedians from marginalized
groups (e.g., Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Margaret Cho, Amy Shumer) and drastically inhibits the ability of satire to inspire productive conversations around issues of diversity. Interestingly, in the face of this disconnect, there is a rise in independent satire using digital media; user generated content on social media
platforms provide spaces for marginalized satire (e.g., Black Twitter, Flama, Randy Rainbow, Reductress), but the effectiveness of this satire in public discourse is not yet evident.

The current research will describe the experiences of teaching satire as a diversity class in fall 2016 and strategies of effective satire, or satire that encourages audiences to see the world through a marginalized lens in order to understand the experiences of others with a focus on representations of gender, sexuality, and race. (242 Words)

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Remix: Teaching Diversity and Promoting Inclusivity with Digital Artifacts

Although some may believe that simply learning about diversity and media representation will make our students better people and therefore better media producers, other concerns in their early career (e.g., colleague hierarchy, maintaining employment) may inhibit this new generation of media producers from affecting change. What good are diversity classes if students cannot promote awareness in the workplace?

In my Race and Gender and Media class at Newhouse, students write professional emails that describe how and why certain media artifacts are problematic or progressive. Read more about this assignment at

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 10.34.18 AM

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Award for Teaching Excellence

The Newhouse 2017 Graduating Seniors bestowed upon me the title of Teacher of the Year! I got a giant bouquet y’all!! I felt like Rita Moreno wining the Oscar for West Side Story in 1962. Check out pictures and video below…

(Video starts at 27:00)

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