Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


School of Communication

First Advisor

Lauren Bratslavsky


HBO’s A Black Lady Sketch Show is a sketch comedy series with a cast and crew of Black women. I draw on rhetorical scholarship from various traditions and Black Feminist Standpoint to analyze how the writers and performers use humor imbued with African American rhetoric to cope with and resist systematic racism and sexism in the United States of America. I begin by analyzing interviews with the creator Robin Thede. Then I analyze sketches and the intentional use of African American rhetoric, such as rhythm, stylin’, indirection, call and response, signification, and double word choice, which leads me to three themes: trauma, support, and sex and romantic love as expressions of coping with and resistance to systemic racism and sexism. Trauma centers around the pain that Black women experience, support concerns how Black women support the Black community, and sex and romantic love highlights Black women exploring their sexual and romantic desires. These themes are expressions of systemic racism and sexism’s impact Black women’s daily lives as seen through the lens of the Black women who create, write, direct, and star in this show because systemic racism and sexism cause Black women trauma, alter how and when they give support, and affect the lens through which they view healthy romantic and sexual relationships. I argue this show allows the confrontation of painful tropes and historical experiences while Black women can be themselves.


Imported from Sanders_ilstu_0092N_11927.pdf


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