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
Search DAARAC's Archive

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bamboozled (2000)

"Bamboozled" (2000) is a comedy-drama written and directed by Spike Lee about two homeless street performers who agree to partake in a television network show where they perform in blackface. Spike Lee examines the racist depiction in Hollywood movies featuring Black people in satirical form. Blackface existed in Minstrel shows in the early 1800s, many years before appearing in Hollywood movies. But in the early 1900s, blackface appeared more in films predominantly played by White people until Black people, such as Bert Williams, began earning film opportunities in the mid-1910s.

There were two primary types of blackface in early Hollywood. The first was in clown form, using some form of black paint or polish (most common in Minstrel shows), and the other was White people portraying Black people in movies with black makeup. Negative stereotypes in Hollywood movies evolved further into characters such as Lincoln Perry (a.k.a. Stepin Fetchit) or Mantan Mooreland, the central inclination of Lee's film.

Throughout the movie, there are several examples of racist depictions of Black people in film and cartoon form. However, the film analyzes corporate dishonesty, the contentious rap militant group fed up with the show's racist content, and the easily appeased audience. The actors performed very well on a complicated topic. Unfortunately, the film flopped at the box office, grossing $2.5 million on a $10 million budget. The movie's content isn't suitable for large, diverse audiences and requires context and understanding. It's an educational piece of artwork not only from the premise of the film but also the technical mastery in editing and cinematography. The soundtrack was a mixture of hip-hop and R&B, peaking at #60 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Director: Spike Lee
Writer: Spike Lee

Starring Damon Wayans, Savion Glover, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tommy Davidson, Michael Rapaport, Thomas Jefferson Byrd, Paul Mooney, Sarah Jones, Gillian White, Susan Batson, Yasiin Bey, M.C. Serch, Gano Grills, Canibus, DJ Scratch, Charli Baltimore, Craig muMs Grant

Under pressure to help revive his network's low ratings, television writer Pierre Delacroix (Damon Wayans) hits on an explosively offensive idea: bringing back blackface with The New Millennium Minstrel Show. The white network executives love it, and so do audiences, forcing Pierre and his collaborators to confront their public's insatiable appetite for dehumanizing stereotypes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Halls of Anger (1970)


The court-ordered desegregation of an inner-city Los Angeles high school brings 60 white students into the predominantly African-American student body. African-American teacher Quincy Davis (Calvin Lockhart) reaches out to all his students, enticing Lerone (DeWayne Jessie) to advance his reading skills with racy paperbacks, protecting new student Douglas (Jeff Bridges) after a race-motivated beating and trying to quell a potential student strike led by the militant J.T. (James A. Watson Jr.).