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Beretta E. Smith-ShomadeAssociate Professor, On Leave 2023-2024

For my entire career, I have been committed to examining, understanding, disrupting and disseminating ideas about Black presences in visual culture. I've worked in a number of academic institutions including Spelman College, Georgia State University, University of Houston, and Tulane University. In 2008, I received a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research and teach at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria. This experience allowed me to see first hand the connections, contours and complexities of Africans and their descendants in the Diaspora. I've worked in media production also: as a production assistant at the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (now the PBS Newshour), as a freelance producer for Manhattan Cable Television, and as a music researcher at both WVEE-FM-Atlanta and WBLS-FM-New York.

My research explores representational, industrial, production, and aesthetic aspects of Black television engagement. I have authored two books within these frameworks: Shaded Lives: African-American Women and Television and Pimpin' Ain't Easy: Selling Black Entertainment Television. My most recent book publication is an edited anthology, Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences—a 2013 Choice Outstanding Academic Title. Beyond these works, my research appears in journals and anthologies on Black filmic representations, cable television, Black spirituality and African-American women.

My current projects consider African-American and Nollywood independent media distribution, K-12 media literacy, and Black folks, religion, and media. To the latter area, I'm completing a book of essays, tentatively titled Aw, the Devil with Hem Untied: The Black Mediated Sacred. In addition, I plan to return to media production in order to think through two different lines of inquiry: one, the seeming visual war on black and brown girls and women and two, the ways in which women of color faith leaders negotiate popular culture.


  • Society for Cinema and Media Studies
  • American Studies Association
  • National Communication Association


  • PhD, University of California, Los Angeles, 1997
  • MFA, Brooklyn College (CUNY), 1990
  • BA, Clark College (Clark Atlanta University), 1988