The inclusion of black women in film and television was a slow burner, and the relationship between black women and horror is even more complicated.
Black characters within this genre became more prominent in the 1970s and onwards, and it became more common to see a black female character mixed into an ensemble cast somewhere – however there were still issues. Often these actresses would be passed off with stereotypical tropes and would regularly be a throwaway character long forgotten by the conclusion.
In recent times, a leading or significant story arc from a black actress has become less rare and we’ve been able to witness the re-emergence and renaissance of true black horror films. From Octavia Spencer in Ma to Lupita Nyong’o in Us, and more recently Jurnee Smollett in the hit HBO series Lovecraft Country, rather than simply including black women, many of these depictions are created, starring and focused on black people, culture and experiences.