Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Why is Sambolina Jolie Wearing Blackface on Film?

If you haven't heard about the upcoming film where a famous white actress will play a 'biracial' woman (by tanning darkly and wearing a nappy wig), check out these pictures and commentary. For the record I concur with the blogger at Sterohyped and reiterate (in my own lingo) that two major problems with this instance of 'blackface' are the following:

One is our sordid historical past, when white actors wearing blackface always played Black characters and reproduced damaging, hateful misrepresentations of Black people that persist as the stereotypes all USAmericans are forced to confront and fight today (cf., Birth of a Nation). The second is our sordid contemporary reality in which Hollywood is still segregated, economically, socially, racially, etc. That is, Black women actors don't often get major roles, because producers don't fund Black films, "mainstream" Americans don't attend films (that don't exist) with Black characters, and most importantly Black women are so unattractive and untalented that they cannot even play themselves (i.e., Black women), much less aspire to play mainstream (white, nuetral, American) characters.

That's enough!

Links to the ongoing conversation:
Washington Post Discusses Jolie & the History of Black Face (6/23/07)

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