Research: Africa in the U.S Media

Africa is a country riddled with terrorism, corruption, poverty and stolen elections - at least according to how the media and entertainment shows depict Africa and Africans. These are some of the findings made by the ‘Africa in the U.S Media’ report published in 2019.

The research is a partnership between Africa No Filter and The African Narrative, a Norman Lear Centre project. The study analysed close to 700,000 hours of news and entertainment media in the US.

The report found that Africa and Africans barely register on US TV, depictions of Africa are broadly negative, and Africa is referenced as a country instead of a continent with 54 countries.

Findings also found that:

  • Stories about Africa appeared once in every five hours of TV programming.
  • Only 13% of entertainment storylines that mentioned Africa included an African character, and 80% of the roles were small.
  • Of 32 African topics tracked across all TV programming ranging from animals and culture to travel and immigration, only three had more positive than negative mentions: history, music and sports.
  • 43% mentions of Africa were on national or local news. After politics (32%), crime had the most mentions (16%)
  • Business and the economy accounted for just 8% of news coverage about Africa.
  • Over one-third (35%) of African mentions in scripted entertainment were about crime.
  • In scripted entertainment, 44% of TV shows only mention “Africa,” with no reference to a particular country.
  • Egypt, South Africa, Kenya, Seychelles, and DRC accounted for almost half (49%) of all mentions of any African nation.