Dr. Corey Creekmur
Participation year
Project title

Movin' on Up: The Rise of Materialism in Contemporary Black Fiction


Black female characters in contemporary, popular fiction break away from several traditionally negative stereotypes of black women, such as the mammy and the Jezebel. The image of the black woman as the "welfare queen," more recent than the other two caricatures, is most strongly dispelled by these characters, referring specifically to characters in Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale (1992), Bebe Moore Campbell's Brothers and Sisters (1994), Benilde Little's Good Hair, and Omar Tyree's For the Love of Money (2000). Such characters are financially secure, intelligent, independent and talented. However, these successful women also exhibit aspects of materialism in their heavy consumption, their preoccupations with expensive things, their dealings with men, and their sense of elitism. This paper examines such manifestations of materialism in popular black fiction and explores several explanations for its appearance The four novels used represent a few of the many novels that illustrate a pattern of materialistic women in popular black fiction.

Monita  Jenkins
Alabama State University