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barack and curtis – manhood, power and respect

This brief documentary was produced by filmmaker Byron Hurt in 2008, shortly before Barack Obama was elected President of the United States. It is an exploration through the historical construction of black masculinity in America over time. It compares and contrasts the masculine representations as exemplified by Barack Obama, on one hand, and rapper 50 cent (Curtis James Jackson III) on the other. Ultimately, it pushes the viewer to think of black masculinity in between the extremes.


What are some terms that you would use to describe how black men are generally depicted in American media? Do these terms fit Barack Obama, 50 cent, neither, both?

The documentary ends with the statement: “Redefine black masculinity. Challenge white patriarchy.” What is the meaning of these statements? In what ways might our society take on these challenges?

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