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African American Literature & the Arts

Black Women Writers

A discussion dealing with criticism by black men that black women writers have achieved their success by focusing criticism on black males. 28 min.

Blacking Up: Hip-hop's Remix of Race and Identity

This documentary examines the popularity of hip-hop among America's white youth and asks whether white identification is rooted in admiration and a desire to transcend race or if it is merely a new chapter in the long continuum of stereotyping, mimicry and cultural appropriation. Does it reflect a new face of racial understanding in white America or does it reinforce an ugly history? Against the unique backdrop of american popular music, the film explores racial identity in the United States.

Body and Soul. Part 2, Soul

Singer Ray Charles traces the roots of today's "soul music" through the blues, jazz, hymns, prison laments and work songs. An interpretation of its development is illustrated with performances by Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Aretha Franklin. A CBS News production, 1968. [preservation copy];

Boneshop of the Heart: Folk Offerings from the American South.

Explores a rich vein of American individuality through incisive portraits of five contemporary southern folk artists four of whom are African American. Includes interviews with the folk artists Enoch Tanner Wickham, Charlie Lucas, Vollis Simpson, Thornton Dial Sr., Bessie Harvey, Lonnie Bradley Holley. 1990. 53 min.

Born For Hard Luck.

A biographical study of Arthur Jackson, known as Peg Leg Sam, a Black street corner musician, telling of his days as a hobo and performer with patent medicine shows in the South. 30 min.

Breakin' In: The Making of a Hip Hop Dancer.

music videos. Follows three young women as they compete for roles in hip hop music videos. Through their eyes we see how this world has impacted their personal values, their career ambitions and their concepts of beauty and self-image. Written and directed by Elizabeth St. Philip. Dist.: National Film Board of Canada. 2005. 71 min.

Brian Winston Reads Black Sitcoms: Stereotypes and Lotsa Laffs.

Discusses the ways that black sitcoms reinforce stereotypical racial images, giving examples from The Cosby Show. 30 min.
See Also:
Poetry readings

Burlesque in Harlem (1949)

Directed by William Alexander . A typical 1950 Harlem burlesque show, complete with racy slapstick comedy, bawdy blues singers, showgirls, and slick tap dancers. Featuring Burlesque in Harlem: Dewey "Pigmeat" Markham, George Wilshire, Vivian Harris, Dick Barrow, Jo Jo Adams, Hucklebuck Jones, Tarza Young, Slip and Slide, Princess D'Orsey, Mabel Hunter, Gertrude Baby Banks, Gloria Howard. 49 min. ;

Classified X.

A film by Melvin Van Peebles. Examines the treatment of black characters throughout the history of American cinema, using examples from classic films beginning with footage by Thomas Edison in 1903 to the present, tracing how Hollywood has aided and abetted the public perception of the African-American. From its earliest days, Hollywood reflected society's fear of blacks and countered with wish-fulfilling images of African-Americans as servile, ignorant, superstitious, or untrustworthy. 1997. 50 min.

Color Adjustment.

Written by Marlon T. Riggs and performed by Ruby Dee. A historical view of stereotypical depictions of African-Americans in television and through that depiction traces the roots of racism and race relations in America. 1991. 58 min.

(Requires RealAudio player) See also: Bibliography of books and articles about this film Description from California Newsreel catalog