These are the sources and citations used to research Film and TV - Black Representation. This bibliography was generated on Cite This For Me on
Spike Lee made a huge contribution to jump starting a whole new outlook on black filmmaking. By persisting in his vision, as he says to "make one film after another" for the mainstream industry and theatres, Lee is one of a handful of directors to survive the "new black film wave" on his own commercial and creative terms. By industry standards, Lee has kept busy making at least one commercial feature film a year, and this interspaced with a steady flow of other media and commercial projects.
In-text: (Spike Lee: A new black wave of cinema, 2021)
Your Bibliography: Acmi.net.au. 2021. Spike Lee: A new black wave of cinema. [online] Available at: <https://www.acmi.net.au/stories-and-ideas/spike-lee/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
“When I go to the movies, I’m expected to identify with all of the characters, and most of them are white,” says the African-American artist Kerry James Marshall, sitting on the top floor of David Zwirner’s immaculate gallery in a Mayfair townhouse in London, where his new exhibition of paintings Look See has just opened. “But when you put a black character in there, somehow the white audience isn’t expected to identify with them. That’s a problem.” He smiles, before continuing: “If you walk into any magazine store, I guarantee that nine out of 10 covers will feature white, blonde, blue-eyed, slim women because that’s still the ideal of beauty. When a black or Asian figure shows up in a fashion magazine, she’s the exception, not the rule. So what does that mean when we talk about equality? To me, equality means that I would be as likely to see black figures as anybody else.”
Your Bibliography: BBC - Culture. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20141023-i-show-black-is-beautiful> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
On 19 April 1989, a 28 year-old investment banker, Trisha Meili, went for her regular jog in Central Park at 9.00pm. In the course of her run, she was hit over the head, dragged 300 feet, viciously raped and beaten, and left for dead by her assailant. At the same time, around 30 Black and Latino teenagers streamed into the park from East Harlem, five of whom were arrested for the assault on Trisha Meili who, at the time, seemed likely to succumb to her injuries. What followed has become a national scandal; a miscarriage of justice that revealed the New York Police Department and District Attorney’s Office to be guilty of racial profiling and a fundamental disregard for legal and human rights. The five boys - Raymond Santana (14), Kevin Richardson (14), Antron McCray (15), Yusef Salaam (15) and Korey Wise (16) - were catapulted into a nightmarish and brutalising experience at the hands of racist police officers orchestrated by Lead Prosecutor, Linda Fairstein. Rather than prosecuting suspects on the basis of physical evidence, Fairstein immediately decided on the boys’ guilt and worked from that premise to secure their convictions at any cost. The arrest, trials, incarceration and, ultimate, exoneration of the five has been recreated in a gripping four-part television drama, When They See Us, directed by Ava DuVernay, who received an Academy Award nomination for Selma (2014) and went on to make 13th (2016), a documentary about the United States’ (US) judicial system and what it tells us about racial inequality. Trump and the death penalty DuVernay seems assured of more awards and recognition for When They See Us (2019) which has become event television; a series which has risen above its medium to capture a national mood of anger and unease at the state of race relations in Trump’s America thirty years on from the 1989 travesty of justice. In fact, When They See Us is a drama in which Donald Trump prominently features because in 1989, he spent $85,000 on full page advertisements in the four main newspapers in New York calling for the restoration of the death penalty. The ad said ‘I want to hate these muggers and murderers. They should be forced to suffer and when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes’. The headline of the advertisement screams in upper case ‘BRING BACK THE DEATH PENALTY. BRING BACK OUR POLICE’. Michael Warren, who was a member of the legal team for the five boys, believes that Trump ‘poisoned the minds of many people who lived in New York and who, rightfully, had a natural affinity for the victim’. He believed that the jurors ‘had to be affected by the inflammatory rhetoric in the ads’. Despite the fact that the boys were exonerated of any involvement in the Central Park attack in 2002, Trump remains unrepentant saying this month ‘You have both sides of that. They admitted their guilt’, adding that ‘If you look at Linda Fairstein and if you look at some of the prosecutors, they think that the city never should have settled that case’. His remarks carry a queasy relation to the moral equivocation drawn by Trump between neo-Nazis and members of the Klu Klux Klan and anti-racist protestors at a demonstration in Charlottesville in 2017. Trump blamed ‘both sides’ for violence at the protests despite one of the White Supremacists, James Alex Fields Jr, ramming a car into a crowd of activists killing a woman, Heather Heyer. Trump’s moral ambiguity when it comes to race crime has spanned the three decades since the Central Park case and prompted The New York Times to opine that ‘Donald Trump is a racist. He talks about and treats people differently based on their race. He has done so for years, and he is still doing so’. Trump’s casual and regular use of racist language in his description of migrants, Muslims, Latinos and Blacks is one of the reasons why When They See Us has touched a nerve in America where police violence against the Black community has been condemned in a new report by The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The report finds that racial disparities ‘permeate the criminal justice system, are widespread and represent a clear threat to the human rights of African Americans, including the rights to life, personal integrity, non-discrimination, and due process, among others’. The report also considers: “that issues of discrimination in policing and criminal justice in the U.S. are inseparable from social stigma and hate speech; violence by private citizens; an enduring situation of racialized poverty; and intersectional discrimination; as all of these are also governed by a structural situation of discrimination and racism”. A miscarriage of justice. Many of these concerns are evident in When They See Us which begins with the arbitrary arrest of the five teenage boys who are aggressively questioned by police officers without their parents present for hours on end without food or a toilet break. The boys are coerced into signing confessions and their interviews are filmed for use in their subsequent trials. These scenes are gruelling to watch and shot in tight, confined spaces that add to the suffocating pressure we see put on the boys to confess. Physical and oral abuse is heaped on the five leaving them disoriented, frightened and vulnerable to the demands of the police. Indeed, such is the level of police aggression that one of the parents, Bobby McCray, fearful for the life of his son, compels him to confess. Another parent, Sharon Salaam, manages to secure the release of her son, Yusef, but he is not spared from the injustice that follows. Episode two focuses on the trials of the boys in which the defence attorneys make clear the lack of physical evidence and DNA connecting them to the crime. Such are the inconsistencies in the only evidence presented by the prosecution – the coerced confessions – that Fairstein insists on two trials to prevent the disjointed and contradictory nature of the filmed confessions becoming completely revealed. Fairstein’s certainty of the boys’ guilt brooks no doubt and sweeps away the reservations of Prosecuting Attorney Elizabeth Lederer. Despite the lack of physical evidence connecting any of the boys to the crime, they are found guilty in both trials and convicted to severe sentences ranging from five to fifteen years. One of the boys, Korey Wise was tried and sentenced as an adult and served thirteen years in adult prisons. The four other boys served 6–7 years in juvenile facilities.The third episode follows the lives of Kevin, Yusef, Antron and Raymond after their release as they struggle to adjust to difficult domestic lives that are heavily constrained by curfews imposed on them as convicted sex offenders and former convicts. Only the most menial jobs are open to them despite Kevin, Raymond and Yusef completing degree courses in prison. Raymond ultimately goes back to prison for drug dealing while the other three men manage to survive in an unforgiving society. The drama is excellent in portraying how the men continued to serve their sentences outside prison, denied the kind of opportunities and liberties we all take for granted. Prison and exoneration The fourth and, perhaps best episode, is given over in its entirety to the thirteen years served by Korey Wise in the adult penal system. Sentenced as an adult at the age of 16, Wise was shunted around different prisons, often long distances from his home in New York, which made family visits extremely difficult. The series makes it plain that the sentences of the boys were shared by their families who, in some cases, found themselves ostracised by association with their alleged guilt or unable to bear the financial cost of prison visits. Two sets of actors – all superb – play the five as adolescents and adults – with the exception of Jharrel Jerome, who plays Korey Wise in all four episodes. He convincingly transitions Korey from a terrified teenager initially incarcerated in Riker’s Island, to a young adult navigating the complex prison regime, both official and unofficial. This episode helps us understand the interior life inside prison as Korey’s mind wanders and replays different scenarios to those that led to his arrest. He wasn’t one of the original police suspects and became caught up in the maelstrom after lending support to a friend. He spends long periods in solitary at his own request for his own protection having been beaten by fellow inmates to within an inch of his life. We learn that sex offenders are only one step up from child molesters and reviled in the prison system. Then in 2002, a prison inmate, Matias Reyes, confessed to the attack on Trisha Meili and his DNA matched that found at the scene. The five men were exonerated of the crime but not before Linda Fairstein and the police tried to suggest that Reyes was a sixth man, who had attacked Meili in league with the five. However, Reyes made clear that he was the sole assailant and in 2014 the city of New York reached a settlement with the five worth $41 million.
In-text: (When They See Us, 2021)
Your Bibliography: centre for global education. 2021. When They See Us. [online] Available at: <https://www.centreforglobaleducation.com/when-they-see-us-event-television-about-racial-injustice-resonates-trump%E2%80%99s-america> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
When it comes to historical movies about brilliant minds, especially in the realms of math or the sciences, audiences can all but expect a tale of ego. Films such as A Beautiful Mind, The Theory of Everything, and The Imitation Game all lean in some way on the idea of the inaccessible genius—a mathematician, computer scientist, and theoretical physicist all somehow removed from the world. Hidden Figures is not that kind of film: It’s a story of brilliance, but not of ego. It’s a story of struggle and willpower, but not of individual glory. Set in 1960s Virginia, the film centers on three pioneering African American women whose calculations for NASA were integral to several historic space missions, including John Glenn’s successful orbit of the Earth. These women—Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan—were superlative mathematicians and engineers despite starting their careers in segregation-era America and facing discrimination at home, at school, and at work. Speaking more broadly about the success of films featuring previously untold stories — like “Hidden Figures,” which told the story of the black women integral to the U.S. space program – Peele said the common thread was freshness. “Time and time again you realize that the more truth you’re hitting on that people haven’t seen put in this way, the more successful it is,” he said.
In-text: (Cruz, 2021)
Your Bibliography: Cruz, L., 2021. What Sets the Smart Heroines of 'Hidden Figures' Apart. [online] The Atlantic. Available at: <https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/01/hidden-figures-review/512252/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
How much pain is too much? In Them, the tolerance bar is high. Created by Little Marvin and co-executive produced by Lena Waithe, this horror anthology series, set within a ten-day timeline, hurtles viewers headfirst into thick molasses of Black pain and generational bigotry, only intensified by capitalism and otherworldly afflictions. Them’s approach — Suburbicon by way of The Shining — provides an intriguing premise, albeit a harrowing one. "Individual scenes hop back through the 1940s and the 1800s, highlighting a racial hatred embedded into the spiritual fabric of America. The reluctance to show any lightness evokes the claustrophobic atmosphere of shows like The Handmaid’s Tale. Them is a series of beautifully visualised ugliness, which is engaging to watch but only in small doses"'
In-text: (Them, 2021)
Your Bibliography: Empire. 2021. Them. [online] Available at: <https://www.empireonline.com/tv/reviews/them/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
"Them" poster, Amazon prime video, 2021
In-text: (Watch the teaser for new Amazon horror show 'Them', 2021)
Your Bibliography: EW.com. 2021. Watch the teaser for new Amazon horror show 'Them'. [online] Available at: <https://ew.com/tv/them-teaser-trailer-amazon/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
"Dear white people" Justin Simien, (2017 – 2021)
In-text: (Dear White People (TV Series 2017–2021) - IMDb, 2021)
Your Bibliography: IMDb. 2021. Dear White People (TV Series 2017–2021) - IMDb. [online] Available at: <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5707802/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
"Hidden Figures", Theodore Melfi, 2016
In-text: (Hidden Figures (2016) - IMDb, 2021)
Your Bibliography: IMDb. 2021. Hidden Figures (2016) - IMDb. [online] Available at: <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4846340/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
"Us", Jordan Peele, 2019
In-text: (Us (2019) - IMDb, 2021)
Your Bibliography: IMDb. 2021. Us (2019) - IMDb. [online] Available at: <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6857112/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
"BlacKkKlansman", Spike Lee, 2018
Your Bibliography: Imdb.com. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7349662/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
"White Dog" Samuel Fuller, 1982
Your Bibliography: Imdb.com. 2021. [online] Available at: <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084899/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
"Get Out", Jordan Peele, 2017
In-text: (Get Out (2017), 2021)
Your Bibliography: Imdb.com. 2021. Get Out (2017). [online] Available at: <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5052448/mediaviewer/rm1537293568/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
"I may Destroy you" poster, HBO, 2020
In-text: (I May Destroy You (2020), 2021)
Your Bibliography: Imdb.com. 2021. I May Destroy You (2020). [online] Available at: <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt11204260/mediaviewer/rm1778169345> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
"Moonlight", Barry Jenkins, 2016
In-text: (Moonlight (2016), 2021)
Your Bibliography: Imdb.com. 2021. Moonlight (2016). [online] Available at: <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt4975722/mediaviewer/rm1452607488> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
"When They see us", Ava DuVernay, Netflix, 2019
In-text: (When They See Us (2019), 2021)
Your Bibliography: Imdb.com. 2021. When They See Us (2019). [online] Available at: <https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7137906/mediaviewer/rm4128072704/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
"I May Destroy You, her sprawling, 12-episode HBO-BBC series that fictionalizes the story of her sexual assault. There is no writers’ room; she is her own fuel and engine. As she imagines her onscreen character, Arabella, she considers her own life and the lives of others. She has revelations. She calls exes who have wronged her.
In-text: (Jung, 2021)
Your Bibliography: Jung, E., 2021. Michaela the Destroyer. [online] Vulture. Available at: <https://www.vulture.com/article/michaela-coel-i-may-destroy-you.html> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
Some time in the 1990s, Samuel Fuller pulled the famed director Richard Linklater aside after a screening of Dazed and Confused, and, in his cigar-cured baritone, said: “Your movie concerns a human emotion I am particularly interested in… hate.” Hollywood studios never gave him the chance to make a movie about hate until he was in his seventies. But when they finally let Fuller off his leash, he produced one of the most controversial movies of the ’80s. Today, as current events are once again inviting many Americans to re-evaluate their attitudes towards race, violence and reform, White Dog, deserves a second look. The film follows a young white actress named Julie (Kristy McNichol), who accidentally strikes a white German Shepard in the Hollywood Hills and upon resuscitating him adopts him. Soon, she learns that the dog’s violent tendencies follow a disturbing pattern. The dog is a “white dog,” conditioned and programmed to attack black people. Seeking to exhaust all options before putting the dog down, Julia finds herself at Noah’s Ark, an animal-training centre, where a black anthropologist, Keys (Paul Winfield), offers to take on the project of reprogramming the dog. The story was adapted from Romain Gary’s novella of the same name. Gary was married to the actress Jean Seberg, who was also an activist with ties to the Black Panthers, and the couple adopted a German Shepard which they later discovered had been trained by the Alabama police to fight blacks. In response to targeted harassment by the FBI due to her association with the black power movement, Seberg eventually died by suicide in 1979. Undoubtedly influenced by this dark chapter, Gary’s original story carries a far darker and more cynical attitude toward race relations than Fuller’s screenplay, culminating in a vengeful black animal trainer reprogramming the dog to attack white people. “Beyond the film’s technical prowess, White Dog’s greatest feat is its treatment of black heroism.” For Fuller, Gary’s story had a deep message at its heart but its surrender to defeatism was unacceptable. Instead the director used the simple allegory of a canine diseased by racism to explore themes that we still talk about today: Is racism inherent or curable? Is reform attainable? If so, who bears the burden for working on reform? Julie’s understandable affection for her pet, who she knows bears no animosity towards her but is dangerous towards others, becomes a venue to explore idea of white guilt and shame of association. However, beyond Fuller’s dialogue, and beyond the film’s technical prowess – Ennio Morricone’s singular score manages to blend fear and melancholy, while the early use of Steadicam captures the dizzying vortex of violence – White Dog’s greatest feat is its treatment of black heroism. The thematic traps which Fuller escapes were as firmly ingrained in Hollywood back then as they are now. For decades the industry has shown its bias in the type of race-related movies it endorses: the only stories about race deemed worth telling are those in which people of colour reenact their socially-imposed subservient roles, or experience transformation through their association and alliance with white people (a trope commonly referred to as the “white saviour” narrative). Here and there, the industry makes space for historical dramas or biopics which, although often more admirable in their approach, continue to reinforce a limited vision of African-American history and experience. White Dog inverts this structure. In Fuller’s screenplay, the only notable white perspective is that of white naïveté, and Kristy McNichol’s performance successfully delivers that. By contrast, the character Keys (Paul Winfield) is presented as a black hero whose arc does not concern his own personal struggles with racism; instead, he embodies the only possible cure for the white dog’s affliction. This emphasises that racism should be viewed as a problem for its perpetrators and not those subjected to it. Winfield’s portrayal of stoic patience in the face of blind, senseless hatred creates a transformative perspective on racial antagonism: one in which the black perspective on racial hatred is shared solely from the position of power.
In-text: (Revisiting White Dog, Samuel Fuller’s powerful anti-racism allegory, 2021)
Your Bibliography: Little White Lies. 2021. Revisiting White Dog, Samuel Fuller’s powerful anti-racism allegory. [online] Available at: <https://lwlies.com/articles/white-dog-samuel-fuller-anti-racist-allegory/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
Dear White People is not about white people. The show, Netflix’s adaptation of Justin Simien’s 2014 critically acclaimed film of the same name, is in some ways both a continuation of the source material and a radical departure. The original film’s satirical portrayal of race relations and black identity at the fictional Ivy League school Winchester University followed a group of black students, led by Samantha White (Tessa Thompson), and a budding campaign against the predominantly white humor magazine Pastiche that culminates in a blackface party and small-time race riot. The 2017 incarnation of Dear White People picks up where the original left off. With some holdovers from the original cast, the first four episodes of the show reconstruct the party and backlash that ended the film, and begin a story on a campus—and within a racial climate—that’s much different than the one viewers last saw at Winchester. But does the show, also written and co-directed by Simien, exceed the expectations set by the original? The Atlantic’s Vann Newkirk, Adrienne Green, Gillian White, and Ta-Nehisi Coates discuss the whole first season, so spoilers abound.
In-text: (Vann R. Newkirk II, 2021)
Your Bibliography: Vann R. Newkirk II, T., 2021. How Insightful Is 'Dear White People'?. [online] The Atlantic. Available at: <https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/05/dear-white-people-season-one-roundtable/526920/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
Jordan Peele discovered halfway through the making of “Get Out” what story he wanted to tell: A horror-thriller for black audiences that delivered a searing satirical critique of systemic racism. “The writing of (‘Get Out’) started with me starting to make my favorite horror-thriller that’s never been made before,” Peele said Wednesday during a keynote conversation at Variety‘s Inclusion Summit. “Halfway through writing the project is when I realized what it was actually about.” Moderated by Variety chief film critic Peter Debruge, the conversation focused on how Peele approached the making of his first feature film. Before “Get Out,” Peele was known as a comic, a sketch artist from his time on Comedy Central’s “Key and Peele.” Peele said he wanted to make a film for black audiences, who gravitate toward horror films but often are frustrated with unrealistic decisions made by lead characters. Using “The Amityville Horror” as an example, Peele said the white family remained in the house despite suspicions it was haunted. A black family, he said, would have been long gone at the first sign of spookiness. “The black audience goes to watch horror-thriller and we are usually very vocal about not getting the movie that we want,” Peele said. But it wasn’t a supernatural force, nor a knife-wielding serial killer that would provide the most scares in “Get Out.” The film’s monster is systemic racism, in this case portrayed through the white characters. “You find the insidious qualities that white liberals have,” Peele said. “The gut punch of the movie is ultimately meant to say that racism is a human problem and the ‘woke’ people know not to call themselves ‘woke.' "The “sunken place” that the lead character falls into when he’s under hypnosis, Peele said, was a metaphor. It’s “this state of marginalization that I’ve never really quite had a word for,” he said. “The sunken place is the prison-industrial complex, it’s the dark hole we throw black people in.” The metaphor also extends to the multiplex. “The sunken place is the theater that black people are relegated to watching horror movies on the screen. We can scream at the screen but we’re not going to get represented on the other side,” he said. Speaking more broadly about the success of films featuring previously untold stories — like “Hidden Figures,” which told the story of the black women integral to the U.S. space program – Peele said the common thread was freshness. “Time and time again you realize that the more truth you’re hitting on that people haven’t seen put in this way, the more successful it is,” he said.
In-text: (Jordan Peele: How 'Get Out' Tackles Systemic Racism as Horror - Variety, 2021)
Your Bibliography: Variety.com. 2021. Jordan Peele: How 'Get Out' Tackles Systemic Racism as Horror - Variety. [online] Available at: <https://variety.com/2017/film/news/jordan-peele-get-out-systemic-racism-1202604824/> [Accessed 1 June 2021].
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