Eddie Murphy's Baby Mama Drama and Smith Family Values: The (Post-) Racial Familial Politics of Hollywood Celebrity Couples

Hannah Hamad

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


As arguably the biggest African American stars in Hollywood during the period leading up to the Obama presidency and beyond, the celebrity identities of Will Smith and Eddie Murphy, as they pertain to the politics of racial discourse at the dawn of the Obama era, are charged with meaning. This comes into clearest view when seen through the frame of coupledom and familial politics. The cultural politics of coupledom and family have always been particularly racially charged spheres of debate where African Americans have been the subjects. And the opposing extents to which Smith and Murphy are seen through mediation of their romantic relationships and their attendant self-conceptualizations as fathers to espouse and live up to normative family values, are highly revealing of their embodiments of (post) racial discourse. This paper therefore explores the racial and post-racial cultural politics of coupledom and family as they pertain to the celebrity discourse surrounding Will Smith and Eddie Murphy at the germination of the Obama era. It argues that, notwithstanding claims made for their racial transcendence or colorblind appeal to crossover audiences, both stars remain firmly located within the discourse of race, which manifests differently through mediated dynamics of coupledom and family.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFirst Comes Love
Subtitle of host publicationPower Couples, Celebrity Kinship and Cultural Politics
EditorsShelley Cobb, Neil Ewen
Place of PublicationLondon
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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