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Is homewrecker the only role for black actresses on TV?


Homewreckers on TV

Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union and Tika Sumpter

                Why does TV portray black women home wreckers

Scandal’, ‘Being Mary Jane’ and ‘The Have and Have Not’s’ all share one thing in common, the black woman is the home wrecker. Whether the character is working class or the upper class the black women being portrayed by Kerry Washington, Gabrielle Union and Tika Sumpter are still conniving jezebels at odds with weak, unfulfilled white women.   Have black women shifted once again from the roles of maids making the bed to the other woman in the bed?

Kerry Washington’s role as Olivia Pope on ‘Scandal’ has gotten incredible reviews and a loyal following. However, as a Washington power broker having an open affair with the president of the United States, she becomes the 21st century version of Sally Hemming. Like the relationship between black slave Hemming and President Thomas Jefferson it was an open secret in powerful circles.

Gabrielle Union actually auditioned for the role of Olivia Pope in ‘Scandal’ but was beaten out by Kerry Washington. Now she plays the title role of Mary Jane Paul on the show ‘Being Mary Jane’, a TV newscaster with a demanding job and a hectic social life.  Union’s role however seeks to portray the everyday professional black woman who masturbates when a man is not available, rips her bra off after a hard day’s work and drinks while on the toilet talking to her girlfriend on the phone.  In her love life she is involved with a married man who proposes to her while still married in a hotel room after sex.

Tika Sumpter’s role as Candace Young in ‘The Have and Have Not’s’   is a true low down jezebel. Her character background includes being a prostitute, mistress and blackmailer.  Her character is involved with a powerful white lawyer in Savannah, GA.  Her characters only redeeming quality is that she loves her family.

The three women on these shows all have the same issue, bad relationships and adultery. Is this the best that Hollywood can offer these incredible actors?



  1. Atlantan on January 22, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Hi! Good article but, please allow me to correct a couple if your points. You stated that the roles of these women are “at odds with weak, unfilled white women.” Actually, Mary Jane is having an affair with another successful and powerful black woman’s husband. You also stated that Andre proposed to Mary Jane after having sex with her in a hotel room. If my memory serves me correct, the opening scene of that episode showed MJP arriving to the hotel to meet him. She didn’t wake up to him. I’m not excusing any of the behaviors and I feel as though you have a valid point with this article. I just wanted to correct a few statements that you made.

    • LIOLI87 on January 22, 2014 at 11:33 am

      Thank you Atlantans for clarifying because I was going to. You are correct, as I’m an avid watcher of both Scandal and Being Mary Jane. I can’t watch the Have and Have Nots because the acting is just terrible. It’s a black casted soap opera (I don’t watch the mostly white casted soaps either) . I do feel as though too much emphasis is being placed on these roles being played. There are plenty of white shows that portray the same. In Grey’s Anatomy, Derrick failed to inform Meredith that he had a wife. As the show progressed, he ended up divorcing his wife and marrying Meredith. There was a ton of adultery in Desperate Housewives. It’s just a show. We as viewers aren’t going to agree with every single point made on a show. If it disturbs you that much, then don’t watch. It’s that simple. I don’t know if this journalist lives in Atlanta, but these portrayed roles are actually a reality in this city.

      • Mo Barnes Mo Barnes on January 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm

        Thank you LIOLI87 for your comments. I invite you to comment for other articles I have written for rollingout. I appreciate the corrections. I should have mentioned that major difference with Mary Jane. And yes I do live in Atlanta

    • Mo Barnes Mo Barnes on January 22, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Thank you for your comments. I invite you to comment for other articles I have written for rollingout. I appreciate the corrections. I should have mentioned that major difference with Mary Jane. And yes I do live in Atlanta

  2. Larry Jennings on January 22, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Aside from the fact that all three characters are in different situations (Mary Jane’s value system is violently opposed to her behavior but she was duped into this relationship and was in too deep by the time she found out. Olivia is conflicted about her power relationship with POTUS and the sister in the TPS drama is just an outright hustler). The roles of two of the women are high end, the women are super intelligent, well educated and powerful in their own right. Thank God for these shows and these roles that showcase the versatility and bankability of black women as leads. Hollywood is getting a clue!

  3. Caydence James on January 24, 2014 at 5:40 am

    I’m sorry but I’m confused. How does one think that a prepubescent slave (someone who was OWNED and had absolutely no control over her own life) could possibly be an appropriate comparison to a grown free woman who is a lawyer and ex Director and Communications for the White House? Sally Hemings wasn’t even 16 when a 30+ yr old OWNER of slaves knocked her up for the first time and this was after making her a slave hand to his daughter – which was actually her niece because TJ’s wife’s father raped Sally’s mother. The point?

    Rape and slavery is NOT a relationship, Kerry Washington’s character is by no means a slave and to equate the two is not only insulting but shows a lack of knowledge of the dehumanization of our people.

    If you’re going to make a comparison and want your argument to be taken seriously then please get your facts straight and don’t insult your readers while you do it! Dayum!