Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


African-American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Jonathan Gayles

Second Advisor

Dr. Sarita Davis

Third Advisor

Dr. Denise Donnelly


African-Americans have been portrayed in stereotypical entertainment roles since their arrival into American society. Before film and television were developed, minstrel and side-shows were the source of entertainment at African-American’s expense. Minstrel shows were performed by White individuals dressed to impersonate Blacks and behaved in a White inter-pretation of Black behavior (Pieterse, 1992, pg. 134). African American women in particular were portrayed in three primary stereotypical ways: the Mammy, the Jezebel, and the Sap-phire. This research examines the relationship between the stereotypes and these historical typecasts of African-American women are relevant to Black director Tyler Perry’s popular character Mabel Simmons, better known as ‘Madea’.