In a commentary for the LA Review of Books, Mary Armstrong Meduski '80 Assistant Professor Samantha N Shephard launches a critique of the recent SpringHill Entertainment documentary, "Shut Up and Dribble." The documentary focuses on NBA athletes' historical relationship with civil rights issues and the power dyanmics of the league today. Sheppard, an expert in Black cultural production and production culture, criticizes the film's overly simplistic narrative of social change; one that omits women and other marginalized figures such as victims of HIV.
"Shut Up and Dribble narrates a story of individual and collective Black male resistance within the confining strictures of white corporate control and capital profit," she writes. "In doing so, Shut Up and Dribble tells well-worn and popular stories of social change, ignoring and omitting histories, narratives, and figures that disrupt a monolithic and masculinist frame of social change. Figures such as the queerly perverse and infamous Dennis Rodman are mostly ignored, and Magic’s activism and business achievements after his HIV reveal are not mentioned. And most importantly, women’s voices are heard but carry no authorial weight despite Hill’s rather thin narration, which she wrote herself. Women are all but absent from the series besides sportswriters Jackie MacMullan and Ramona Shelburne. Where are the Black feminist writers/critics whose works impact Black baller discourse? Where are the WNBA stars? Is there room for, hell, even a 'Basketball wife'?”
Read the full discussion on the LA Review of Books website.