The mission of The Department of Afro-American Research Arts and Culture to identify the global significance of the creative contributions pioneered by an international diaspora of Blackness
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Saturday, December 9, 2023

A Tough Winter (1930)

"A Tough Winter" (1930) is a comedy short part of the "Our Gang Comedies [a.k.a. The Little Rascals]" by Hal Roach and is the 99th episode of the series. The film stars Stepin Fetchit, Allen 'Farina' Hoskins, Jackie Cooper, Mary Ann Jackson, Bobby 'Wheezer' Hutchins, and Pete the Dog.

Lincoln Theodore Perry [a.k.a. Stepin Fetchit] became famous in Hollywood in 1929 and starred in nine films. However, his fame was due to his negative stereotypical depiction of Black people in movies. Most of his portrayals were shiftless, slow-talking, tap-dancing, and dim-wittedness. He was a comedic relief, making him the first black actor to earn $1 million. 

Allen 'Farina' Hoskins started acting in 1922 as an original cast member of the "Our Gang Comedies." He had a total of 118 credits, with his last in 1936. He branched away from the "Our Gang Comedies" in the 1930s and appeared in a few films, such as "The Mayor of Hell" (1933) and "Reckless" (1935). 

Unfortunately, many Hollywood films that feature Black actors in the 20s and 30s suffered from racist stereotypes. The early years of "Our Gang Comedies" were a product of the era, so Farina and Stepin Fetchit are examples of Hollywood's depiction of Black people. It may be challenging for some to see this film and not feel offended, which is understandable. But we must be critical and truthful about history, even if it makes us uncomfortable. Pretending it didn't happen helps nobody.

Director: Robert F. McGowan
Writers: Robert A. McGowan, H.M. Walker

Starring Stepin Fetchit, Farina' Hoskins, Jackie Cooper, Mary Ann Jackson, Bobby 'Wheezer' Hutchins, Pete the Dog, Thomas Atkins, Walter Weidler, Warner Weidler

Stepin Fetchit allows the gang to come in from the cold and later attempts to help Mary Ann clean up after a "taffy pull" goes wrong.