StudentShare solutions
Triangle menu

African American film genre - Essay Example

Nobody downloaded yet
Long before John Crow's laws,white Americans had already a pre-conceived view of black people as inferior,which helped them justify slavery.After all they were unable to learn English and spoke Pigeon English,another proof that blacks were not intelligent. From the 1620s, blacks were stereotyped and the emergence of minstrel shows in the 1840s only helped in branding even more this misconception, (Davis) and introducing black caricatures, portrayed by white actors with black-make-up, as the coons, the toms, and the mammies at first, and later on followed by the mulattoes and the bucks. The first movie ever where African Americans appear was screened in 1898, where it showed black soldiers in the Spanish-American war. But it was with the 1903 movie with a black character, Uncle Tom, directed by Edwin S. Porter, a white man, that we can pinpoint the beginning of the American film industry incorporating black characters. Tom was portrayed by a white actor with black make-up. In the movie, Tom is the typical skinny, middle-aged, desexed slave, totally loyal to his white master, a far cry from the original Tom portrayed in Harriet Beecher Stowe's book Uncle Tom's Cabin, which showed a gentle, kind, and forgiving man. This first portrayal of a black in film sealed even more this misconstrued idea of black inferiority and became a vehicle used to the advantage of whites not only for entertainment but also for economic reasons - advertisement for sellable products -. What no one foresaw then was the planting of the seed of the actual African American film industry with a slew of black actors who "elevated [these roles] and brought to [them] arty qualities if not pure art." (Bogle 23). That was the essence of black film history.

When one tries to discuss and describe African American film industry, one cannot help but go back in time and start with the characterization that white people so strongly believed in, leading them to create caricatures of black people in the burgeoning entertainment industry. So, it is impossible not to describe the four categories of stereotypes that kept reoccurring throughout the twentieth century. These four characters were the foundation of the entertainment industry as seen by white producers, who soon came to realize that it was also a tool to instigate war or peace, tolerance and understanding versus discrimination and segregation.

The four black figures were the Tom, the Mammies, the Coons, and the Bucks. The Tom, the ever subservient, good-natured, stoic, selfless and loyal to a fault, as seen in Jezebel (1938), Love Thy Neighbor (1940), where Tom was portrayed by Eddie Anderson, Edge of the City (1957), and The Defiant Ones (1958), where Sidney Poitier characters sacrifice themselves for their white friends. The Coons with very black faces, bulging eyeballs and thick red lips, which represented the black buffoon, himself subdivided into two groups, the Pickanny and the Uncle Ramus, "a cousin to Tom. (Bogle 8) Mantan Moreland made the coon character renown from the late 1930s to the early 1970s when "he still [made] cameo appearances"(Bogle 72). The Mammy, usually fat, big and cantankerous, but still sweet and good-tempered, made her first big appearance in 1914's Lysistrata, and was used as the recognizable face on pancake boxes and syrup, but was made famous by Hattie McDaniel in the 1930s (no one can forget her in Gone with the Wind). Of course, the tragic Mulatto caught between the white and the black world and unable to find her place in neither one of them as portrayed in the 1912 movie The Debt, and the tear-jerker movie Imitation of Life in 1934. Finally, the last of the categories, the Buck, whose introduction in the 1915 racist movie by D.W. Griffith, The Birth of a Nation, brought a slew of controversies, was a brute, a liar, a cheat and a rapist. This blatantly anti-black movie that became a propaganda vehicle for the Ku Klux Klan, was also the coup de ...Show more
Cite this document
  • APA
  • MLA
  • CHICAGO
(“African American film genre Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1750 words”, n.d.)
Retrieved from https://studentshare.net/visual-arts-film-studies/301332-african-american-film-genre
(African American Film Genre Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1750 Words)
https://studentshare.net/visual-arts-film-studies/301332-african-american-film-genre.
“African American Film Genre Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1750 Words”, n.d. https://studentshare.net/visual-arts-film-studies/301332-african-american-film-genre.
  • Cited: 0 times

Summary

Long before John Crow's laws,white Americans had already a pre-conceived view of black people as inferior,which helped them justify slavery.After all they were unable to learn English and spoke Pigeon English,another proof that blacks were not intelligent…
African American film genre
Read Text Preview
Save Your Time for More Important Things
Let us write or edit the essay on your topic
"African American film genre"
with a personal 20% discount.
Grab the best paper

Check these samples - they also fit your topic

Stereotypes of African American Women in Film
One of the stereotypes of the African American woman is that she is never innocent and always sexually competent. Seeing an African American woman does not evoke the imagery of virginity, a prejudice that has endured since slavery when African American did not have control over the use of their bodies.
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Film assignment essay (you should read my instruction file)
The film shows distinct movement from the traditional sense of the country’s political situation to the current situation in the 1960’s. The film adopted the south West terrain which was the contributing factor to the culture that was being experienced.
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
Film Genre Analysis
There are various film genres or types, and this depends on the content, the theme and even the running time among other film elements. The genre determines the targeted audience with respect to age among others. Horror film genre is one of the most marketable among the youths and adults.
8 pages (2000 words) Essay
Film and Television Genre
Detective mystery film, they cannot be classified as main genre films because they are both thrillers and gangster films. Therefore they are classified according to their hibridity and not by specific genres. Disaster films, they are both action and adventure films, an example is the hurricane film of 1937 and the high and the mighty film of 1954.
3 pages (1000 words) Essay
Film Music
Movies have allowed artists and musicians to create an abundant and rich variety of music. Yet, most of the researches done in this direction include music scores written in the era of talking movies. Very poor knowledge of what film music was like in the silent movies was conducted.
10 pages (2500 words) Essay
African American film genre analysis
The idea of a romantic link between the two characters of Lucy and the yellow man would be too much for the 1919 audience to swallow. The movie was also the last of the films which carried integrationist messages. These relationships were depicted as abnormal, unacceptable and impulsive.
5 pages (1250 words) Essay
Space Cowboys Film and Genre
Clint Eastwood has worked his way out across a number of Hollywood flicks, which have literally been the foundation for this belief amongst the film critics around the world that the man is a serious actor, producer and director as well. He is an all rounder by all means and his talent is simply awesome and endless in the show business world.
6 pages (1500 words) Essay
Reading Film
‘Far From Heaven’, released in the year of 2002 is a creation of one of the most intelligent and idiosyncratic directors of the contemporary cinema, Todd Haynes. The film is uniquely beautiful and religiously follows the visual style of apparently seeming
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Film genre
Star Wars films are genuinely derivative in the form of the plot and the underlying character thus making it to be wholly dependent on the prevailing generic resolutions of
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
African American
Throughout history, they faced various forms of suppression and oppression. Despite all this, African-Americans have managed to make their lives more livable by exhibiting a great degree of resilience. This work
4 pages (1000 words) Essay
Comments (0)
Click to create a comment
Let us find you another Essay on topic African American film genre for FREE!
Contact us:
+16312120006
Contact Us Now
FREE Mobile Apps:
  • About StudentShare
  • Testimonials
  • FAQ
  • Blog
  • Free Essays
  • New Essays
  • Essays
  • The Newest Essay Topics
  • Index samples by all dates
Join us:
Contact Us