Andre Lyon

Intersectionality of Race, Class and Gender: The Complex Representation of Bipolar Disorder on Fox Network’s Empire.

For this study researchers specifically look into Fox Network’s Empire exploring the intersectionality of race, class, and gender.  They looked into representations of mental illnesses in television programming and argued the lack of major characters with mental illness in entertainment media by using a critical analysis method and framing their theory on the para-social relationships with audience and the way they depict characters with mental illness (Frigerio, 2017).  The study argues how empire is a “complex and problematic” representation of mental illness with one of the main characters Andre Lyons (Frigerio, 2017). Andre is the son of two major music producers, Upper class, black man who suffers from bi-polar.

I am so happy I have found an article that has a similar study intent, of lack of mental illness being portrayed in films. It shows me that there are researchers who are researching this. This study will help my research because it is a similar study, but it also gives me an idea to talk about African American representation. However, I would like to read more on their theoretical framework on “para-social relationships”. I would like to see if that could be used in my own research. I am also willing to see some of the articles they have cited to further guide my literature review.

Last week, I had the pleasure to finally meet Professor Weatherston. She is amazing. I got to talk to her about my script and my ideas of wanting to do film festivals. She had given me great insight on some websites to enter my film in and gave me advice on camera angle shots that are different and can show mental illness. She is a part of my committee; however, I do not know who to put as a chair. I am considering four committee members and I am waiting for my potential committee member, Professor Jessica Hamilton, who teaches in African American studies to get back to me. I am hoping she gets back to me soon, because I believe she fits my project perfect!


Smith-Frigerio, S. (2017). Intersectionality of Race, Class and Gender: The Complex Representation of Bipolar Disorder on Fox Networks Empire. Howard Journal of Communications, 1-16. doi:10.1080/10646175.2017.1407720



For Colores Girls Study on Mental Health

Bitch, You Must Be Crazy: Representations of Mental Illness in Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Consider Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf (1976),sorry for the aggression. This study examines how For Colored Girls employs Black Women and their experiences with mental illness, it also talks about the effects of a suicide crisis. Louis suggests that mental illness does not exist outside socio-historical and cultural configurations (Louis, 2013). The researcher also implies the title “For Colored Girls” with both a question and proposition and placing it into African American cultural context. Why do colored girls consider suicide? The study argues that For Colored Girls gives us the understanding of social conditions of Black women experiences in mental health and insights to treatment and prevention (Louis, 2013). The paper looks into three issues For Colored Girls considers addressing the lack of mental health within the play Interplay between social context and psychological conditions, womanhood and connections between self-reclamation and sanity (Louis, 2013).

I am excited that I have found an article that speaks on a favorite film and plays, For Colored Girls. I am still waiting for the request for the full report to get a better understanding of the study. However, it seems like it speaks to the basis of the knowledge the social conditions of Black women dealing with mental health and proves that For Colored Girl does give insight into black women experiences and treatment. The only thing that I am worried about is I am focused on films, and this is speaking on the play. For Colored Girls, the film is a bit different from the actual play. I would use this article to help me argue the need for adding black experiences with mental health, treatment and prevention can bring conversation within the Black women. I would also like to add in the studies explorations of the mental health issues I have listed above. I believe it is essential for people to understand a film like For Colored Girls first, they must be able to learn about mental illness and its various forms. That is what I am trying to prove with my film and what is discussed in this article.

I had a meeting with Kristina Devoe, and she has helped me guide my paper even further. I was having difficulties in finding articles that did not just speak on mental health being a stigma in today’s society. So maybe that is the problem, the topic of mental health in black films is not studied enough. I am now in the verge of finding articles that talk about white movies that talk about mental health such as my favorite film Girl, Interrupted, and seeing how those articles talk about the film within studies and how they define mental health. I have come across another theory, and it is a mental disability through a black feminist’s theoretical framework. I am still doing my research on that theory and defining mental disability. I am hoping to finish my literature review this Sunday and start the next sections of the draft paper.

Louis, D. M. , 2012-03-07 “Bitch You Must Be Crazy: Mental Illness and Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls (1976)” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 36th Annual National Council for Black Studies, Sheraton Atlanta Hotel, Atlanta, GA 2014-11-24 from

ABW Persona

The Angry Black Woman is defined as an irate, aggressive, loud and rude woman (Kerwin, 2017). The Angry Black Woman: The Impact of Pejorative Stereotypes on Psychotherapy with Black Women by Wendy Ashley, is an article that discusses the myth of the angry Black woman which results in stereotypes that black women are known to be and could be evident in psychotherapeutic (clinical) settings and how this could lead to misinterpreted symptoms and misdiagnosis of treatment. It gives the necessary background of the Angry Black Woman persona tracing the myth back to slavery, and the lack of treatment women of color got after slavery.

I was always curious about Janet Jackson’s character in For Colored Girls. It was apparent she was characterized as the Angry Black Woman in the movie. But what caused her to act that way? Was she even angry? How do we not know that her lashing out could have been bipolar? Or she was having a bad day? That is a term that I see in most black women in films, especially films that display mental health in their characters in black cinema. I question the director’s views when they write these scripts and cast black women. I do want to talk about the ABW persona in my paper. However, I am trying to figure out how I can talk about that and stay on the topic of mental health. I do have a chapter in my film that I am dedicating to the Angry Black Woman persona. This article is helping me develop my character as well as giving me sources from their citations to look at for my paper dealing with mental health.

I worked on developing my characters for my next chapter in my film, and I am starting to write that script out. I have a goal of finishing the script and storyboards November 11th. I am also in the process of writing my outline for my paper. I am starting with the literature review. I am also taking the route to write this draft a little every day like we discuss in class. I am meeting with my Assistant Producer Anthony Lewis, and we are going to film a section from my Un-Told scene. I plan to bring this footage to practice editing for November 14th. I am so excited to shoot this, and I cannot wait.


Ashley, W. (2013). The Angry Black Woman: The Impact of Pejorative Stereotypes on Psychotherapy with Black Women. Social Work in Public Health,29(1), 27-34. doi:10.1080/19371918.2011.619449

Kerwin., A. M., Kerwin, A. M., & Marie, A. (2017, September 27). The ‘Angry Black Woman’ Makes Real Women Angry. Retrieved from

Giving Mental Health a New Look in Media

Changing Media Representations of Mental Health was published as the first research study examining mental health coverage in the media. The study was conducted on behalf of the Glasgow Media Group and examined content in press, television, and films and using content analysis to show how the material would relate to our beliefs of mental illness (Philo,2017). The study showed how media is held accountable for most of these ill-informed beliefs. The research interviewed numerous people with their experience with Mental Health, and the majority of the interviewees associated their experiences with violent films, and media. This new research shows the impact on media consumers, the more powerful negative images shown, the more stigmatization and negative portrayal of mental health starts to develop.

This article was an interesting read. It mentions how there was a partition signed by 3,000 media consumers, that asked for a different approach in mental health in media and changing the perception of it. The article also mentions how media companies have not done so yet. I think this article would be beneficial for my study in looking into the way films portray mental health, which can draw a negative portrayal, shift the stigmatization of mental health and allowing people not to be open-minded mental health and seeking help. I can also find more studies and information on big media companies and their viewings of mental health to see if there is a possible link between the consumers and the scriptwriters, producers, and directors.

Right now I am focusing on my second part of my script. I just finished scheduling my casting calls and possible shooting days. I am getting in contact with my committee. I want to discuss a proper email to send out to the potential committee members. If anyone has an outline or would allow me to read theirs, I would much appreciate that. This Sunday, I have a meeting with my Team to discuss my fellow plans for next semester involving shooting. I am also going to start an outline for my paper and researching more articles.

Philo, G. (1997). Changing media representations of mental health. Psychiatric Bulletin, 21(3), 171-172.

Kofi Siriboe new film Jump

This week I have decided to do my blog a little different. Besides talking about one of my articles, I have been looking at short films, documentaries, and interviews that speak on Mental Health, that I think contributes to my project in many ways. The two things I had watched were both directed by Kofi Siriboe; WTF is Mental Health and Jump. Kofi Siriboe, who starred in film Girls Trip and television series Queen Sugar, is a young, FINE, actor, who is my future husband and an advocate for bringing awareness to mental health in the black community through creating.

WTF is Mental Health is a short documentary that features young Black youth to speak on their mental health and how they overcame it. Jump is a short film that was inspired by a suicidal death from mentor and brother of Kofi. In this 11-minute film, Jump, Kofi plays the main character Ziggy, who is detached from reality. Throughout the film, you will see a young girl popping up around Ziggy telling him to follow her, but when he finds her, there is no one there. Throughout the film, he says, “I don’t wanna live, I don’t wanna die.” It just seems like he does not want to go out, wants to hang out with his friends or even talk to anyone. At the end of the film, Ziggy is on a bridge considering ending his life.

This film moved me. I have changed my film to being an episodic film but with chapters. At first, I was a little skeptical writing my script out because I know I needed to make my scenes at least 10 minutes each while getting the point across. I love the way that Kofi executed that with little dialogue and short timing I his film. I am looking at this film for guidance in the visuals for my film. I am looking at the shot choices like camera angles, color, and transitions. I have noticed in the film that he decides to use a lot of close up shots, which makes it look more dramatic as well as intimate with the characters. I have also noticed with his character, Ziggy, he wore dull colors, while the little girl had on pink, his friend (Not girlfriend…I hope) wears a yellow hat that shows happiness, and the colors I see a lot in the scenes are blue and cool colors which intensify the darkness of the story.

At this point of my project, I have started my script for UN-, and my chapter UN-Told, which is about a young black girl who is trained to go to church with her mother and getting prayed over regularly for any situation. She is confused, she thought she trusted a guy that was close to her, like a brother, but that trust was broken when he molested her in her own home and was threatened not to tell anyone. She’s living with this secret, while this guy is living with her family until his mother is out of rehab. My next step is to start the beginning of another chapter called Un-Known. I am not sure what route to go with this story after all the interviews I have one so far, however, I do see something visually. I am also going to sketch out this first script for practice using shots and colors I see in Kofi’s short film for inspiration. I shall have this by next class for feedback.

Click here to see JUMP. 

The Root of Mental Health for Black Women

Black Women and Mental Health: Working Towards Inclusive Mental Health Services is an article I found by Melba Wilson. This article addresses the nature of black women’s position in a broader context of black everyday experiences. The article focuses on women from different communities such as African, African-Caribbean and Asian Communities, which I found interesting due to Asian and African-Caribbean culture. The study is looking into older women, women of mixed heritage, and refugees focusing on the perspective of black and minority ethnic women and their mental health needs, care, and treatment. The article mentions that it was written to change the social policy framework in mental health (Wilson pg.34).

My goal for my film is to go to the root of what is causing most of Mental Health. Why is the leading black women protagonist in movies portrayed to be some angry black women? This article addresses racism, mistreatment in psychiatric hospitals, and issues within the black community itself. But I think what drew me to this article is the section of Black women – the reality, where this section talks about the experiences of racial and cultural stereotyping, and different experiences with the mental health system, gender stereotyping. It also notes that a lot of literature does not mention these experiences as a factor to a cause of mental health for the black community. I’ve never thought of racism being a factor in Mental illness, so it was a great article to read about that and comparing different populations within the black communities. I am now seeking to add a little bit more to my characters in my film and their everyday struggles.

I am happy to say that I have now started my script. I just needed an extra push, and I believe I got it from last week’s class. I have looked into Film Theory, and I am now looking into Black Feminism theory and seeing what I can find within those. I have outlined all the articles I have found, and I am starting to put my paper together. Today I had the opportunity to attend the Pennsylvania Women’s Conference, where I have met a producer Shameka Stewart, she works at a non-profit that focuses on short films as well as sponsor short films. I have a meeting with her in two weeks. Next thing I would like to do is start looking for my grants to help me prosper with my film as well as locations.


Wilson, M. (2001). Black Women and Mental Health: Working Towards Inclusive Mental Health Services. Feminist Review,68(1), 34-51.

We need an “Ill” film!

As I continue to come across and read more articles about films and mental health, I am now becoming more interested in the importance of films and documentaries and how these platforms have a particular impact on its audience. Though I am not doing a documentary, it is still pretty impressive how fictional films with characters who are showing what the struggle of those who are dealing with mental illness.

The film festival “AUSNAHME|ZUSTAND” (State of Emergency)—Do feature films and documentaries on mental health reduce stigma and influence help-seeking attitudes? Evaluated the impact of Germany-wide film festival, known as “AUSNAHME|ZUSTAND also known as the State of Emergency, on social distance and help-seeking attitudes of the audience. The researchers did a pre-post test where they looked into the effects of both featured films and documentaries on social distance towards people with mental illnesses and the impact that has on their attitudes to seeking help ( Pg.1043). The study showed how these effects depended upon the film and documentary content and how both featured films and documentaries can reduce social distance and influence those with mental illnesses to seek help, but it depends on how strong the material is.

I would like to discuss why I am interested in the article and how it contributes to my project. The article speaks of various theoretical models, and I know that I am stuck finding a theoretical framework I would like to use for my project. It brings up the sociological model for stigmatization, and I know that that coexists with black women wanting to seek help for their mental illness. I am arguing that we need more fictional films with black women protagonists who are having these struggles mentally, so that black women, in reality, can be a useful viewer, relate and start developing these help-seeking attitudes mentioned in this article. I also would like to prove how films like these are compelling in a positive way to the black women.

Right now I am in the midst of starting my script. I have decided to change my film from an hour to 30 minutes. I am developing my characters as well as a clear and concise story plot. For my actual research, I am trying to find my theoretical framework. So I am outlining my paper with the topics discussed and claims made and are looking into some of the keywords I see, such as film, character development, and stigmatization, and reading about some theories. I am still taking suggestions on routes and ideas I should look in too.


Conrad, I., Schulze, B., Corrieri, S., Heider, D., Schomerus, G., & Riedel-Heller, S. G. (2014). The film festival “AUSNAHME|ZUSTAND” (State of Emergency)—Do feature films and documentaries on mental health reduce stigma and influence help-seeking attitudes? Psychiatry Research,220(3), 1043-1050.

Relevant Literature

1. I have found this chapter “Media, Minorities, and the Stigma of Mental Illness” in a book by Sandra Swantek. It discusses the different stigmas minorities face when it comes to mental health displayed in the media. Stigma is negative attitudes and beliefs that motivate the public fear, rejection, avoidance, and discrimination against people that are dealing with mental illness (Swantek, p.73). This chapter gives an introduction to mental illness in the media. It has past studies that studied the portrayal of mental illness and minorities in fictional media (Swantek, p.74) It discusses mental illness in the news and how advocacy groups encourage balanced representation of the mentally ill in the media when it comes to minorities.

2.  I believe this article contributes to my project because it goes into depth about the media images of people that are mentally ill, and how it focuses on the reactions of those viewing this illness as being feared, rejected and ridiculed. The article showed how common shame in today’s society affects lives by making people reduce seeking help, which created low self-esteem and reduced the chances for people with this illness to want to recover. The chapter also goes into fictional portrayals, dramatic fictional images and that is how I want my film to be a genre. So, I am interested to see how screenwriters and directors portray these characters with mental illnesses and how the audience responds to them. This chapter is also exciting because it opens up to all media, not just television. It discusses the internet, news, and primetime television shows. Lastly, the chapter gives some recommendations that researchers can study or they found a lack of study. I found interest in wanting to hit on in my studies and film the need for media and education communication in today’s society and showing different cultural ideas about mental illness and the respect for different cultural diversity that will push for more acceptance of people with mental illnesses (Swantek, 82). I think because there is a lack of understanding for people, not just minorities, with mental illnesses is the lack of knowledge.

3. Each week I read different articles and watch documentaries about mental health to further my understandings on mental health. I started my interview process, and I just started to put together my blog for the film. On my blog, I plan to give information on Mental Health, discuss the inspiration of my movie and my research, and post the interviews and short summaries of my participants and their opinions of mental health I have for my studies. I am also home for the weekend to interview my grandmother on Intergenerational PTSD she suffers from and next week I am meeting with Professor Zaylea to go over my schedule for my project, Sunday I have a team meeting with some friends who are committed to helping me with my film and I have started the scriptwriting process.

I am excited about this project and research that I have come across. I do hope to answer some of the questions that past researchers still need answers to as well as recommending further research that can yet be done!


Swantek, S. S. (2008). Media, Minorities, and the Stigma of Mental Illness. Determinants of Minority Mental Health and Wellness,1-15. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-75659-2_5

My Style Element

When I was in the process of thinking of doing a creative project, I was on the verge to doing a documentary. Since my topic was on Mental Health, I knew of plenty of upcoming documentaries that where speaking on this topic. However, I knew my topic was going to be of Black Women having these issues. So then I looked into films. I knew I wasn’t going to find a film that showed leading black women protagonists a mental illness and having resources in the movie to educate them. I want this film to bring awareness and resources to black women. So the style of this film is important.

Feel and Sound

I would like my film to look like a drama, absurdist fictional film, with an inspirational feel. I am inspired with the Tyler Perry film For Colored Girls. I want my movie to sound like a dramatic film, but I want my viewers to hear these experiences and stories of Mental Health from these characters as a testimony.

Types of Media 

To get the inspiration for my narrative film, I would be interviewing black women. I plan to use the video interviews at the end of my film during credits, so the viewers can see and hear these testimonies for themselves. For more information on educating myself on mental health, I have also been listening to numerous podcasts such as, Carefree Black Girl, who talks about her journey dealing with issues and I have been watching YouTube videos of different documentaries and lectures on Mental Health.

Style of Media Elements 

I will be using both an audio interview for the end of my movie interviews, but for my actual film I will be using Diegetic sounds that would insist dialogue, sound effects, and a Non-Diegetic sound of music, I would like to use music from a local groups I find online.

My Shots

Since my film is dramatic and I would like for my viewers to relate to my audience, so I would like to have to close up shots so my audience can feel almost involved in what is happening. I would also like a medium, long and wide shots that would show landscape and bodies. I would also do a two-shot that shows relationships and over the shoulder shots for expressions and lastly a point of view shots, so audiences get a feeling.

How my choices fit

I believe a short film would fit my theme because I feel like my topic of Mental Health has been documentaries, blogs, and podcasts. I think having a short film is relatable and the fact that my characters will be based on real black women testimonies it’s me having a conflict and a conclusion, besides having a documentary and hearing stories. My film style supports my content because my goal is to bring a mental health film featuring black women with mental health issues and finding a conclusion to the situation.

My Areas of Research

For my research, I narrowed my topic down once more, and now I am questioning, Why don’t Black Women discuss mental health? I am still making my theme a short film because there is a lack of Black Mental Health awareness in the media. For my research, I would be looking into several categories such as Mental Health, Mental Health in media and Filmmaking processes and methods in mental health research. Some of the articles I chose are for my interest in learning more about Mental Health and hoping to get feedback from my peers and professors on what route to take when looking for articles and books.


Mental Health:

Duke, L. H. (2017). The importance of social ties in mental health. Mental Health and Social Inclusion,21(5), 264-270. doi:10.1108/mhsi-07-2017-0029

Evans, Stephanie Y., et al. Black Women’s Mental Health. Balancing Strength and Vulnerability. State University of New York Press, 2017.

Fransen, Elena (2014). The lack of conversation about mental health harms awareness. UWire Text, p.1

Memon, A., Taylor, K., Mohebati, L. M., Sundin, J., Cooper, M., Scanlon, T., & Visser, R. D. (2016). Perceived barriers to accessing mental health services among black and minority ethnic (BME) communities: A qualitative study in Southeast England. BMJ Open,6(11). doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012337
Project Lets  (n.d.). Retrieved from
Scheid, T. L., & Brown, T. N. (2010). A handbook for the study of mental health: Social contexts, theories, and systems. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Swantek, S. S. (2008). Media, Minorities, and the Stigma of Mental Illness. Determinants of Minority Mental Health and Wellness,1-15. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-75659-2_5
Pirkis, J., Blood, R. W., Francis, C., & Mccallum, K. (2006). On-Screen Portrayals of Mental Illness: Extent, Nature, and Impacts. Journal of Health Communication,11(5), 523-541. doi:10.1080/10810730600755889

Wahl, Otto F;Lefkowits, J Jonatan. Impact of a Television Film on Attitudes Toward Mental Illness, American Journal of Community Psychology; Aug 1, 1989; 17, 4; ProQuest pg. 521

Short Films 

Bilge, A., & Palabiyik, O. (2017). The Effect of Short Films About Mental Health and Disorders on Preventing Stigmatization in Nursing Education. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing,31(1), 88-92. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2016.09.006

Parr, H. (2007). Collaborative film-making as process, method and text in mental health research. Cultural Geographies,14(1), 114-138. doi:10.1177/1474474007072822

I think I am having a problem with finding articles on script writing and character development and mental health. I am not sure if I am using the proper film terms. I am however interested in finding more articles on how scriptwriters and directs develop characters with mental illnesses and their processes and inspiration. Again, I am accepting advice and guidance!