CAP en Español
Small CAP Banner

Sound Off: A Slow Sweet Death

  • print icon
  • SHARE:
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Share on Google+
  • Email icon

As black women, it’s often a struggle to find places where images of ourselves are reflected at us in the media. Advertisements in magazines or on television seldom illustrate our beauty or intrigue. At least this was the case until menthol cigarette companies, or dare I say "pushers," saw us as a wide-open market.

They labeled African Americans a "deprived population" that was desperately seeking immediate gratification that they were all too happy to fill. Thanks to the predatory cigarette industry, we began to see ourselves everywhere. Images reflected of young, sexy black men and women playing cards, drinking liquor, or singing jazz—all with smoke seeping out of our their mouths and hovering over their heads. The captions read "be authentic," "be bold."

Read more here.

This article was originally published in Essence.

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Chelsea Kiene
202.478.5328 or