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 on triumphing 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 half the twentieth century, taking an educated theoretical, historic, and demanding procedure. (2011)

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

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McKinney, like many African American actresses during the second quarter of the twentieth century, found it difficult to escape the role she popularized. Hallelujah elevated her to stardom within the African American community and made her newsworthy in the African American press, but her on-screen roles increasingly crossed over into her off-screen private life as the reel and the real began to merge. In her effort to capitalize on her stardom and maintain the fleeting and illusory image of a star, she helped make herself the object of admiration, gossip, and vilification.

69 Though Kong symbolically represents the threat of black male sexuality, Wartenberg writes that “rather than maintain this view of Kong, the film employs a romantic narrative in which Kong figures as a tragic hero. Because Kong can feel romantic love for Ann Darrow, he becomes an object of the viewer’s admiration and empathy, not their fear and hatred. ” 70 In part because of her role in King Kong that associated her with the occult, evil, witchcraft, and voodoo, Sul-Te-Wan became typecast.

This performative behavior was empowering to whites because it allowed them to vicariously experience blackness. 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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