Framing Blackness

The African American Image in Film

Author: Ed Guerrero

Publisher: Temple University Press

ISBN: 9781439904138

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 272

View: 1087

A challenge to Hollywood's one-dimensional images of African Americans.
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Framing Blackness

The African American Image in Film

Author: Ed Guerrero

Publisher: Temple University Press

ISBN: 9781566391269

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 269

View: 6925

From D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation to Spike Lee's Malcolm X, Ed Guerrero argues, the commercial film industry reflects white domination of American society. Written with the energy and conviction generated by the new black film wave, Framing Blackness traces an ongoing epic—African Americans protesting screen images of blacks as criminals, servants, comics, athletes, and sidekicks. These images persist despite blacks' irrepressible demands for emancipated images and a role in the industry. Although starkly racist portrayals of blacks in early films have gradually been replaced by more appealing characterizations, the legacy of the plantation genre lives on in Blaxpoitation films, the fantastic racialized imagery in science fiction and horror films, and the resubordination of blacks in Reagan-era films. Probing the contradictions of such images, Guerrero recalls the controversies surrounding role choices by stars like Sidney Poitier, Eddie Murphy, Whoopie Goldberg, and Richard Pryor. Throughout his study, Guerrero is attentive to the ways African Americans resist Hollywood's one-dimensional images and superficial selling of black culture as the latest fad. Organizing political demonstrations and boycotts, writing, and creating their own film images are among the forms of active resistance documented. The final chapter awakens readers to the artistic and commercial breakthrough of black independent filmmakers who are using movies to channel their rage at social injustice. Guerrero points out their diverse approaches to depicting African American life and hails innovative tactics for financing their work. Framing Blackness is the most up-to-date critical study of how African Americans are acquiring power once the province of Hollywood alone: the power of framing blackness. In the series Culture and the Moving Image, edited by Robert Sklar.
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Black American Cinema

Author: Manthia Diawara

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135216738

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 336

View: 8522

This is the first major collection of criticism on Black American cinema. From the pioneering work of Oscar Micheaux and Wallace Thurman to the Hollywood success of Spike Lee, Black American filmmakers have played a remarkable role in the development of the American film, both independent and mainstream. In this volume, the work of early Black filmmakers is given serious attention for the first time. Individual essays consider what a Black film tradition might be, the relation between Black American filmmakers and filmmakers from the diaspora, the nature of Black film aesthetics, the artist's place within the community, and the representation of a Black imaginary. Black American Cinema also uncovers the construction of Black sexuality on screen, the role of Black women in independent cinema, and the specific question of Black female spectatorship. A lively and provocative group of essays debate the place and significance of Spike Lee Of crucial importance are the ways in which the essays analyze those Black directors who worked for Hollywood and whose films are simplistically dismissed as sell-outs, to the Hollywood "master narrative," as well as those "crossover" filmmakers whose achievements entail a surreptitious infiltration of the studios. Black American Cinema demonstrates the wealth of the Black contribution to American film and the complex course that contribution has taken. Contributors: Houston Baker, Jr., Toni Cade Bambara, Amiri Baraka, Jacquie Bobo, Richard Dyer, Jane Gaines, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Ron Green, Ed Guerrero, bell hooks, Phyllis Klotman, Ntongele Masilela, Clyde Taylor, and Michele Wallace.
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"Baad Bitches" and Sassy Supermamas

Black Power Action Films

Author: Stephane Dunn

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 9780252091049

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 192

View: 2024

This lively study unpacks the intersecting racial, sexual, and gender politics underlying the representations of racialized bodies, masculinities, and femininities in early 1970s black action films, with particular focus on the representation of black femininity. Stephane Dunn explores the typical, sexualized, subordinate positioning of women in low-budget blaxploitation action narratives as well as more seriously radical films like Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and The Spook Who Sat by the Door, in which black women are typically portrayed as trifling "bitches" compared to the supermacho black male heroes. The terms "baad bitches" and "sassy supermamas" signal the reversal of this positioning with the emergence of supermama heroines in the few black action films in the early 1970s that featured self-assured, empowered, and tough (or "baad") black women as protagonists: Cleopatra Jones, Coffy, and Foxy Brown. Dunn offers close examination of a distinct moment in the history of African American representation in popular cinema, tracing its emergence out of a radical political era, influenced especially by the Black Power movement and feminism. "Baad Bitches" and Sassy Supermamas also engages blaxploitation's impact and lingering aura in contemporary hip-hop culture as suggested by its disturbing gender politics and the "baad bitch daughters" of Foxy Brown and Cleopatra Jones, rappers Lil' Kim and Foxy Brown.
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Redefining Black Film

Author: Mark A. Reid

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520912847

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 170

View: 1913

Can films about black characters, produced by white filmmakers, be considered "black films"? In answering this question, Mark Reid reassesses black film history, carefully distinguishing between films controlled by blacks and films that utilize black talent, but are controlled by whites. Previous black film criticism has "buried" the true black film industry, Reid says, by concentrating on films that are about, but not by, blacks. Reid's discussion of black independent films—defined as films that focus on the black community and that are written, directed, produced, and distributed by blacks—ranges from the earliest black involvement at the turn of the century up through the civil rights movement of the Sixties and the recent resurgence of feminism in black cultural production. His critical assessment of work by some black filmmakers such as Spike Lee notes how these films avoid dramatizations of sexism, homophobia, and classism within the black community. In the area of black commercial film controlled by whites, Reid considers three genres: African-American comedy, black family film, and black action film. He points out that even when these films use black writers and directors, a black perspective rarely surfaces. Reid's innovative critical approach, which transcends the "black-image" language of earlier studies—and at the same time redefines black film—makes an important contribution to film history. Certain to attract film scholars, this work will also appeal to anyone interested in African-American and Women's Studies.
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Representing Blackness

Issues in Film and Video

Author: Valerie Smith

Publisher: Rutgers University Press

ISBN: 9780813523149

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 240

View: 8599

The essays in this collection provide a variety of perspectives on black representation and questions of racial authenticity in mainstream as well as African American independent cinema. This volume includes seminal essays on racial stereotypes, trenchant critiques of that discourse, original essays on important directors such as Haile Gerima and Charles Burnett, and an insightful discussion of black, gay and lesbian film and video. The contributors include Donald Bogle, Thomas Cripps, Jane Gaines, Nathan Grant, Stuart Hall, Tommy L. Lott, Wahneema Lubiano, Mike Murashige, Valerie Smith, James Snead, and David Van Leer. Valerie Smith is a professor of English at UCLA. She is the author of Self-Discovery and Authority in Afro-American Narrative and editor of New Essays on Toni Morrison's "Song of Solomon." A volume in the Depth of Field Series, edited by Charles Affron, Mirella Jona Affron, and Robert Lyons.
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Film Blackness

American Cinema and the Idea of Black Film

Author: Michael Boyce Gillespie

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822373882

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 248

View: 7697

In Film Blackness Michael Boyce Gillespie shifts the ways we think about black film, treating it not as a category, a genre, or strictly a representation of the black experience but as a visual negotiation between film as art and the discursivity of race. Gillespie challenges expectations that black film can or should represent the reality of black life or provide answers to social problems. Instead, he frames black film alongside literature, music, art, photography, and new media, treating it as an interdisciplinary form that enacts black visual and expressive culture. Gillespie discusses the racial grotesque in Ralph Bakshi's Coonskin (1975), black performativity in Wendell B. Harris Jr.'s Chameleon Street (1989), blackness and noir in Bill Duke's Deep Cover (1992), and how place and desire impact blackness in Barry Jenkins's Medicine for Melancholy (2008). Considering how each film represents a distinct conception of the relationship between race and cinema, Gillespie recasts the idea of black film and poses new paradigms for genre, narrative, aesthetics, historiography, and intertextuality.
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Black City Cinema

African American Urban Experiences In Film

Author: Paula Massood

Publisher: Temple University Press

ISBN: 9781439905654

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 280

View: 7482

In Black City Cinema, Paula Massood shows how popular films reflected the massive social changes that resulted from the Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South to cities in the North, West, and Mid-West during the first three decades of the twentieth century. By the onset of the Depression, the Black population had become primarily urban, transforming individual lives as well as urban experience and culture.Massood probes into the relationship of place and time, showing how urban settings became an intrinsic element of African American film as Black people became more firmly rooted in urban spaces and more visible as historical and political subjects. Illuminating the intersections of film, history, politics, and urban discourse, she considers the chief genres of African American and Hollywood narrative film: the black cast musicals of the 1920s and the "race" films of the early sound era to blaxploitation and hood films, as well as the work of Spike Lee toward the end of the century. As it examines such a wide range of films over much of the twentieth century, this book offers a unique map of Black representations in film.
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Black Lenses, Black Voices

African American Film Now

Author: Mark A. Reid

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield

ISBN: 9780742526426

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 136

View: 4713

Black Lenses, Black Voices is a provocative look at films directed and written_and sometimes produced_by African Americans, as well as black-oriented films whose directors or screenwriters are not black. Mark Reid shows how certain films dramatize the contemporary African American community as a politically and economically diverse group, vastly different from film representations of the 1960s. Taking us through the development of African American independent filmmaking before and after World War II, he then illustrates the unique nature of African American family, action, horror, female-centered, and independent films, such as Eve's Bayou, Jungle Fever, Shaft, Souls of Sin, Bones, Waiting to Exhale, Monster's Ball, Sankofa, and many more.
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Divas on Screen

Black Women in American Film

Author: Mia Mask

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

ISBN: 0252091825

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 320

View: 500

This insightful study places African American women's stardom in historical and industrial contexts by examining the star personae of five African American women: Dorothy Dandridge, Pam Grier, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Halle Berry. Interpreting each woman's celebrity as predicated on a brand of charismatic authority, Mia Mask shows how these female stars have ultimately complicated the conventional discursive practices through which blackness and womanhood have been represented in commercial cinema, independent film, and network television. Mask examines the function of these stars in seminal yet underanalyzed films. She considers Dandridge's status as a sexual commodity in films such as Tamango, revealing the contradictory discourses regarding race and sexuality in segregation-era American culture. Grier's feminist-camp performances in sexploitation pictures Women in Cages and The Big Doll House and her subsequent blaxploitation vehicles Coffy and Foxy Brown highlight a similar tension between representing African American women as both objectified stereotypes and powerful, self-defining icons. Mask reads Goldberg's transforming habits in Sister Act and The Associate as representative of her unruly comedic routines, while Winfrey's daily television performance as self-made, self-help guru echoes Horatio Alger narratives of success. Finally, Mask analyzes Berry's meteoric success by acknowledging the ways in which Dandridge's career made Berry's possible.
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Black Directors in Hollywood

Author: Melvin Donalson

Publisher: University of Texas Press

ISBN: 0292782241

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 389

View: 3978

Hollywood film directors are some of the world's most powerful storytellers, shaping the fantasies and aspirations of people around the globe. Since the 1960s, African Americans have increasingly joined their ranks, bringing fresh insights to movie characterizations, plots, and themes and depicting areas of African American culture that were previously absent from mainstream films. Today, black directors are making films in all popular genres, while inventing new ones to speak directly from and to the black experience. This book offers a first comprehensive look at the work of black directors in Hollywood, from pioneers such as Gordon Parks, Melvin Van Peebles, and Ossie Davis to current talents including Spike Lee, John Singleton, Kasi Lemmons, and Carl Franklin. Discussing 67 individuals and over 135 films, Melvin Donalson thoroughly explores how black directors' storytelling skills and film techniques have widened both the thematic focus and visual style of American cinema. Assessing the meanings and messages in their films, he convincingly demonstrates that black directors are balancing Hollywood's demand for box office success with artistic achievement and responsibility to ethnic, cultural, and gender issues.
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The Anatomy of Blackness

Science and Slavery in an Age of Enlightenment

Author: Andrew S. Curran

Publisher: JHU Press

ISBN: 1421401509

Category: History

Page: 310

View: 1651

This volume examines the Enlightenment-era textualization of the Black African in European thought. Andrew S. Curran rewrites the history of blackness by replicating the practices of eighteenth-century readers. Surveying French and European travelogues, natural histories, works of anatomy, pro- and anti-slavery tracts, philosophical treatises, and literary texts, Curran shows how naturalists and philosophes drew from travel literature to discuss the perceived problem of human blackness within the nascent human sciences. He also describes how a number of now-forgotten anatomists revolutionized the era’s understanding of black Africans and charts the shift of the slavery debate from the moral, mercantile, and theological realms toward that of the "black body" itself. In tracing this evolution, he shows how blackness changed from a mere descriptor in earlier periods into a thing to be measured, dissected, handled, and often brutalized. "A definitive statement on the complex, painful, and richly revealing topic of how the major figures of the French Enlightenment reacted to the enslavement of black Africans, often to their discredit. The fields of race studies and of Enlightenment studies are more than ready to embrace the type of analysis in which Curran engages, and all the more so in that his book is beautifully written and illustrated."— Symposium "This is an important contribution to an important topic. But it is also a model of how intellectual history should be done."— New Books in History "The breadth of Andrew Curran's knowledge about the Enlightenment is astonishing... The book makes the convincing point not only that Africa is a major focus in the Enlightenment's imagination, but also that natural history and anthropology are central to understanding not only its scientific agenda, but also its humanitarian politics."— Centaurus "Curran's Francotropism and medical background enable him to develop insights that should prove important to the ongoing transnationalization and discipline-blurring of literary and cultural studies."— Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment "Curran's ability to dissect and explain complicated arguments of the period's major thinkers is impressive."— Choice
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African Americans and Popular Culture [3 volumes]

Author: Todd Boyd

Publisher: ABC-CLIO

ISBN: 0313064083

Category: Social Science

Page: 836

View: 8999

The African American influence on popular culture is among the most sweeping and lasting this country has seen. Despite a history of institutionalized racism, black artists, entertainers, and entrepreneurs have had enormous impact on American popular culture. Pioneers such as Oscar Michaeux, Paul Robeson, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Langston Hughes, Bill Bojangles Robinson, and Bessie Smith paved the way for Jackie Robinson, Nina Simone, James Baldwin, Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali, Sidney Poitier, and Bill Cosby, who in turn opened the door for Spike Lee, Dave Chappelle, Dr. Dre, Jay-Z, Tiger Woods, and Michael Jordan. Today, hip hop is the most powerful element of youth culture; white teenagers outnumber blacks as purchasers of rap music; black-themed movies are regularly successful at the box office, and black writers have been anthologized and canonized right alongside white ones. Though there are still many more miles to travel and much to overcome, this three-volume set considers the multifaceted influence of African Americans on popular culture, and sheds new light on the ways in which African American culture has come to be a fundamental and lasting part of America itself. To articulate the momentous impact African American popular culture has had upon the fabric of American society, these three volumes provide analyses from academics and experts across the country. They provide the most reliable, accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive treatment of key topics, works, and themes in African American popular culture for a new generation of readers. The scope of the project is vast, including: popular historical movements like the Harlem Renaissance; the legacy of African American comedy; African Americans and the Olympics; African Americans and rock 'n roll; more contemporary articulations such as hip hop culture and black urban cinema; and much more. One goal of the project is to recuperate histories that have been perhaps forgotten or obscured to mainstream audiences and to demonstrate how African Americans are not only integral to American culture, but how they have always been purveyors of popular culture.
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Reframing Blackness and Black Solidarities through Anti-colonial and Decolonial Prisms

Author: George J. Sefa Dei

Publisher: Springer

ISBN: 3319530798

Category: Education

Page: 223

View: 9861

This book grounds particular struggles at the curious interface of skin, body, psyche, hegemonies and politics. Specifically, it adds to current [re]theorizations of Blackness, anti-Blackness and Black solidarities, through anti-colonial and decolonial prisms. The discussion challenges the reductionism of contemporary polity of Blackness in regards to capitalism/globalization, particularly when relegated to the colonial power and privileged experiences of settler. The book does so by arguing that this practice perpetuates procedures of violence and social injustice upon Black and African peoples. The book brings critical readings to Black racial identity, representation and politics informed by pertinent questions: What are the tools/frameworks Black peoples in Euro-American/Canadian contexts can deploy to forge community and solidarity, and to resist anti-Black racism and other social oppressions? What critical analytical tools can be developed to account for Black lived experiences, agency and resistance? What are the limits of the tools or frameworks for anti-racist, anti-colonial work? How do such critical tools or frameworks of Blackness and anti-Blackness assist in anti-racist and anti-colonial practice? The book provides new coordinates for collective and global mobilization by troubling the politics of “decolonizing solidarity” as pointing to new ways for forging critical friends and political workers. The book concludes by offering some important lessons for teaching and learning about Blackness and anti-Blackness confronting some contemporary issues of schooling and education in Euro-American contexts, and suggesting ways to foster dialogic and generative forums for such critical discussions.
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Contemporary Black American Cinema

Race, Gender and Sexuality at the Movies

Author: Mia Mask

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136308024

Category: Social Science

Page: 288

View: 6194

Contemporary Black American Cinema offers a fresh collection of essays on African American film, media, and visual culture in the era of global multiculturalism. Integrating theory, history, and criticism, the contributing authors deftly connect interdisciplinary perspectives from American studies, cinema studies, cultural studies, political science, media studies, and Queer theory. This multidisciplinary methodology expands the discursive and interpretive registers of film analysis. From Paul Robeson’s and Sidney Poitier’s star vehicles to Lee Daniels’s directorial forays, these essays address the career legacies of film stars, examine various iterations of Blaxploitation and animation, question the comedic politics of "fat suit" films, and celebrate the innovation of avant-garde and experimental cinema.
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African Americans and the Media

Author: Catherine Squires

Publisher: Polity

ISBN: 0745640362

Category: Social Science

Page: 301

View: 958

This work provides a textbook overview of the past, present, and future of African Americans in US media. It brings together work from a variety of disciplines to provide the fullest understanding of this complex relationship to date.
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Race, Gender, and Citizenship in the African Diaspora

Travelling Blackness

Author: Manoucheka Celeste

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1317431286

Category: Social Science

Page: 158

View: 7136

With the exception of slave narratives, there are few stories of black international migration in U.S. news and popular culture. This book is interested in stratified immigrant experiences, diverse black experiences, and the intersection of black and immigrant identities. Citizenship as it is commonly understood today in the public sphere is a legal issue, yet scholars have done much to move beyond this popular view and situate citizenship in the context of economic, social, and political positioning. The book shows that citizenship in all of its forms is often rhetorically, representationally, and legally negated by blackness and considers the ways that blackness, and representations of blackness, impact one’s ability to travel across national and social borders and become a citizen. This book is a story of citizenship and the ways that race, gender, and class shape national belonging, with Haiti, Cuba, and the United States as the primary sites of examination.
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The Predicament of Blackness

Postcolonial Ghana and the Politics of Race

Author: Jemima Pierre

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226923029

Category: History

Page: 263

View: 3084

What is the meaning of blackness in Africa? While much has been written on Africa’s complex ethnic and tribal relationships, Jemima Pierre’s groundbreaking The Predicament of Blackness is the first book to tackle the question of race in West Africa through its postcolonial manifestations. Challenging the view of the African continent as a nonracialized space—as a fixed historic source for the African diaspora—she envisions Africa, and in particular the nation of Ghana, as a place whose local relationships are deeply informed by global structures of race, economics, and politics. Against the backdrop of Ghana’s history as a major port in the transatlantic slave trade and the subsequent and disruptive forces of colonialism and postcolonialism, Pierre examines key facets of contemporary Ghanaian society, from the pervasive significance of “whiteness” to the practice of chemical skin-bleaching to the government’s active promotion of Pan-African “heritage tourism.” Drawing these and other examples together, she shows that race and racism have not only persisted in Ghana after colonialism, but also that the beliefs and practices of this modern society all occur within a global racial hierarchy. In doing so, she provides a powerful articulation of race on the continent and a new way of understanding contemporary Africa—and the modern African diaspora.
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Women of Blaxploitation

How the Black Action Film Heroine Changed American Popular Culture

Author: Yvonne D. Sims

Publisher: McFarland

ISBN: 0786451548

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 232

View: 5956

"This study examines ways blaxploitation heroines reshaped the presentation of African American actresses on screen and the perception of African American females in general. It discusses the social, political and cultural context in which blaxploitationf
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