Beretta E. Smith-Shomade

Associate Professor

Film and Media

Office: Rich Bldg 101

Phone: 404-727-1074



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


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



Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences. New Brunswick, NJ:

            Rutgers University Press, 2013, Editor


Pimpin’ Ain’t Easy: Selling Black Entertainment Television. New York: Routledge, 2007


Shaded Lives: African-American Women and Television. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers

            University Press, 2002


Selected Articles

"Don't Play with God! Black Church, Play, and Possibilities." Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Society, and Culture (forthcoming 2017).

“Feminist Media Studies and Community.” The Communication Review 18.1 (2015): 7-13.

“Dance, Dance, Dance, Dance, Dance, Dance, Dance All Night! Mediated Audiences

            and Black Women’s Spirituality.” Cupcakes, Pinterest, Ladyporn: Feminized Popular

            Culture in the Early 21st Century. Ed. Elana Levine (Champaign, IL: University of

 Illinois Press, 2015): 157-173

 “Introduction: When and Where We Enter.” Cinema Journal 53.4 (Summer 2014): 121-

            127, Co-Author with Racquel Gates and Miriam Petty.

“I Be Smackin’ My Hoes: Paradox and Authenticity in Bamboozled.Spike Lee Reader.  Ed.

            Paula Massood (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2008): 228-242

“Target Market Black: BET and the Branding of African-America.” Cable Visions: 

            Television Beyond Broadcasting. Eds. Sarah Banet-Weiser, Cynthia Chris, and

            Anthony Freitas (New York: New York University Press, 2007): 177-193

“Surviving In Living Color with Some White Chicks: Whiteness in the Wayans’ (Black)

            Minds.” The Persistence of Whiteness:  Race and Contemporary Hollywood Cinema. Ed.

            Daniel Bernardi (UK: Routledge, 2007): 344-359