|How it is. From Kiss My Black Ads.|
This is taken from a collection of different print and commercial castings I've gone on in the past few years. The role and look is always the same, but only the name of the product changes. Why is that?
Somewhere inside an office on Madison Avenue in the magical land of advertising, a character was born. I like to call her the"aspirational African American woman" also known as the "token". She is brown skinned to light skinned with shoulder length curly or wavy hair. She is funny and approachable. She is urban, yet also suburban. She is your every black girl.
I know you've seen her smile. She's been on your tv screen and all over magazines selling everything from healthy cereals to feminine products to alcohol. She's the sister of the "aspirational Black male" and cousin to Token Morning-News Anchor/Meteorologist. Although each aspirational AA woman is "unique", they really are all the same. She and others like her are interchangeable.
Advertisers created this woman as an attempt to satisfy diversity, while also not alienating the non-minority consumer. The problem is that she has become a standard not only in mainstream advertising, but in Black ads too. I've gone to a casting for a black haircare product and the role was specifically worded as "aspirational female".
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