Download African American actresses: the struggle for visibility, by Charlene B. Regester PDF

By Charlene B. Regester

9 actresses, from Madame Sul-Te-Wan in start of a country (1915) to Ethel Waters in Member of the marriage (1952), are profiled in African American Actresses. Charlene Regester poses questions about winning racial politics, on-screen and off-screen identities, and black stardom and white stardom. She finds how those girls fought for his or her roles in addition to what they compromised (or did not compromise). Regester repositions those actresses to spotlight their contributions to cinema within the first 1/2 the 20 th century, taking an educated theoretical, old, and important method. (2011)

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Additional info for African American actresses: the struggle for visibility, 1900-1960

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Bishop Walls of the New York Amsterdam News contended that the film’s distortion of historical fact in its so-called exploration of witchcraft resulted in a gross misrepresentation of African Americans. ” Walls asserted that an Irish woman servant who was arrested for initiating a frenzy that caused deaths, rather than the black female slave, was the so-called culprit in this historical event. ” 73 Although the white girls denied these accusations, the black slave girl revealed the truth. ” 74 Claudette Colbert is cast in the leading role as Barbara Clarke, who stands accused of practicing witchcraft.

72 As in King Kong, there is a juxtaposition of white to black femininity and an equation of the black female (Ruva) with sorcery and voodoo. But this picture also depicts the white woman as possessed by evil, an association that ultimately results in her death. Following her exit from the picture, another white woman takes her place as a signifier of white femaleness, which effectively erases the white woman’s being signified as evil and leaves the association of evil related to the occult to rest only with her black companion, Ruva.

At the same time, it was disempowering to blacks because whites ultimately controlled the black image. Though generally forced to occupy a space of invisibility, some black actors were able to penetrate the boundaries of Otherness. Madame Sul-Te-Wan exemplifies an African American actress who, although deprivileged, emerged as a screen figure of note. While Hollywood made 19 20â•… · â•… a f r i c a n a m e r i c a n a c t r e s s e s every attempt to render her invisible, she proved to be indomitable and established visibility for herself against all odds.

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