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Robin R. Means Coleman, Author of the Month, September 2011

Robin R. Means Coleman is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and in the Center for AfroAmerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan. Her previous books include African Americans and the Black Situation Comedy: Situating Racial Humor and the edited collection Say It Loud! African Americans, Media and Identity, both published by Routledge, and most recently the co-edited volume Fight the Power! The Spike Lee Reader. 

Author Q&A:


I have a pretty long list of media that I check in on everyday. I look at the Huffington Post, The Atlanta Post, TheRoot, The New York Times, CNN, Fox News and even celebrity/gossip sites like MediaTakeOut. I get my horror/sci-fi fix from TV shows like Torchwood, Being Human (the BBC version), and Scare Tactics. I watched Syfy’s original TV movies while writing Horror Noire. I just love “Sharktopus” starring Eric Roberts. 


Oh, this is a really tough one. Just five? George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, John Carpenter’s The Thing, Alien, J.D.’s Revenge, Candyman...oh, I can’t stick to five…Audition/Odishon, Lucky Ghost, The Wicker Man, The Wizard of Oz, and Def by Temptation.


Yes, Horror Noire is about the history of Blacks in horror films. But, it is also very much a book about Blacks in America—their histories, politics, and cultures. To examine these areas through the lens of horror presents, in part, a really interesting and surprising narrative of Black empowerment and control, a kind of “talking back” to mainstream symbols of Blackness. I wanted to share this part of the Black story. Of course the book also reveals the significant imagistic annihilation that Blacks endure, but there is a story here of how Blacks reclaim their representations. And, I wanted to dispel the myth that Blacks always die first in horror movies. You can blame science fiction and crime thrillers for killing off Blacks first, and oftentimes doing so unceremoniously.  

Related Products

  1. Horror Noire

    Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present

    By Robin R Means Coleman

    From King Kong to Candyman, the boundary-pushing genre of the horror film has always been a site for provocative explorations of race in American popular culture. In Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from 1890's to Present, Robin R. Means Coleman traces the history of notable...

    Published June 20th 2011 by Routledge

  2. Say It Loud!

    African American Audiences, Media and Identity

    Edited by Robin R. Means Coleman

    First Published in 2002. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company....

    Published January 2nd 2002 by Routledge

  3. African American Viewers and the Black Situation Comedy

    Situating Racial Humor

    By Robin R. Means Coleman

    Series: Studies in African American History and Culture

    Providing new insight into key debates over race and representation in the media, this ethnographic study explores the ways in which African Americans have been depicted in Black situation comedies-from 1950's Beulah to contemporary series like Martin and Living Single....

    Published February 1st 2000 by Routledge