Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Social Work

First Advisor

Elizabeth Cramer

Second Advisor

Nicole Lee

Third Advisor

Rowena Briones Winkler

Fourth Advisor

Kellie Carlyle

Fifth Advisor

Shelby McDonald


This study explored media discourse of gender violence against Black women in Black contemporary films. Four Tyler Perry films were examined using a novel, qualitative and analytical framework: Black Feminist Discourse Analysis. Discourses that were studied include, but were not limited to: portrayals of gender violence and victims, character dispositions and interactions, stereotypes, relationship dynamics as well as portrayals of race, gender, sexuality and religion. The use of new and existing controlling images based on systems of race, gender, sexuality and religion were revealed in a transitional and systemic model. Common themes across the films are provided. This research closes with concluding assertions grounded by existing literature and the current study’s findings, as well as recommendations for future film writing and production and implications for social work.


© Avina Ichele Ross

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Date of Submission