Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) Barbie Is Honoring Ava DuVernay (and Other "Sheroes") With Her Very Own Doll. Have a Look... Barbie Is Honoring Ava DuVernay (and Other "Sheroes") With Her Very Own Doll. Have a Look... BET Unveils 2015-2016 Slate Additions: New Original Scripted & Unscripted Series, Movies, News Specials & More BET Unveils 2015-2016 Slate Additions: New Original Scripted & Unscripted Series, Movies, News Specials & More Jada Pinkett Smith's Fish Mooney Will Return to 'Gotham' Streets with a New Look & Tougher Than Ever Jada Pinkett Smith's Fish Mooney Will Return to 'Gotham' Streets with a New Look & Tougher Than Ever Mo'Nique Presents Email Evidence That Shows She Was in Contention for the Role of Cookie in 'Empire' Mo'Nique Presents Email Evidence That Shows She Was in Contention for the Role of Cookie in 'Empire' Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library In May Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library In May James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson Will Share a Stage Again in a Revival of 'The Gin Game' James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson Will Share a Stage Again in a Revival of 'The Gin Game' Watch: Michael Jackson’s Movie Career Summed Up in 7 Minutes Watch: Michael Jackson’s Movie Career Summed Up in 7 Minutes Watch First Trailer for 'Desperate Housewives - Africa' + Individual Character Profiles Watch First Trailer for 'Desperate Housewives - Africa' + Individual Character Profiles Watch Trailer for Jordan Davis Documentary, '3 1/2 Minutes.' Coming to HBO This Fall Watch Trailer for Jordan Davis Documentary, '3 1/2 Minutes.' Coming to HBO This Fall Quentin Tarantino's 'H8ful Eight' Gets a Teaser Trailer (Samuel L. Jackson, Belinda Owino) Quentin Tarantino's 'H8ful Eight' Gets a Teaser Trailer (Samuel L. Jackson, Belinda Owino) Here Are the Cities & Theaters in Which Patrik-Ian Polk's Award-Winning Drama 'Blackbird' Will Open Here Are the Cities & Theaters in Which Patrik-Ian Polk's Award-Winning Drama 'Blackbird' Will Open Trailer: Pilot Project 'First Gen' (The Trials and Tribulations of Being a First Gen Nigerian-American) Trailer: Pilot Project 'First Gen' (The Trials and Tribulations of Being a First Gen Nigerian-American) Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) What to Expect in Season 2 of 'Empire' (Less Opulence; Spike Lee May Direct, Oprah May Guest-Star, More) Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Whoopi Goldberg & Daughter Alex Martin Enter Reality TV Series Ring Whoopi Goldberg & Daughter Alex Martin Enter Reality TV Series Ring Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Flashback To 1981 - "Race And The Movies" (How Much Has Really Changed In 30+ Years?)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act May 27, 2014 at 1:03PM

Flashback To 1981 - "Race And The Movies" (How Much Has Really Changed In 30 Years?)
0
Race At The Movies

Below you'll find a 1981 televised discussion between Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel, in which they discuss, broadly, the *state of blacks in American studio cinema* at the time (again, 1981), compared to years prior. 

I repost here in part to serve as a trip down memory lane, taking us back to the early days of what would become the most popular film review TV series of all time, but also because just about everything they talk about within the 9-minute conversation are all matters we've discussed and debated ad naseam here on S&A (and elsewhere), 33 years later!! 

So what does that say about how far what we call "black cinema" (specifically, studio-based movie-making) has come after 3 long decades of "progress"? And even more maddening is that, the previous 25 years (before 1981) of film history, where blacks are concerned, provide the context for the 33-year old conversation below, as the hosts ponder just how little had changed in that time period as well, up to 1981.

So really, I could rephrase the question and ask just how far "black cinema" has come in the last 58 years of film history. How much has really changed for blacks in cinema over almost 6 decades?

The fact that we're still having many of the same conversations about the *state of blacks in American cinema*, decades later, suggests that there hasn't been quite as much progress as we might think.

Long time readers of S&A will know that I like to point out these realities/reminders from time to time, because, often, we get so caught up in discussions about what's *wrong* with Hollywood where blacks are concerned, today, as we analyze and criticize, without realizing and acknowledging that our parents, grandparents and even great-grandparents had very similar conversations about representation (or lack thereof). The end-goal here is simply to emphasize that our words alone haven't, and probably still will not have much of an impact on the state of things. The words must be accompanied with some kind of action to propel movement forward. Otherwise, in another 25 years, we just might still be discussing what ails us creatively, which would be absolutely terrible in my humble opinion.

So much of what they say below can still be said today, and I think that's really sad, given all the talk about how liberal Hollywood is, increases in participation from under-represented groups, etc. There's obviously still much work to be done. 

The below video is part of a 3-piece series titled Race And The Movies, presented by a previous incarnation of Ebert's At the Movies.

The other 2 parts give brief summaries of blacks Americans in cinema since the days of Oscar Micheaux, to black Americans in cinema today.

I embedded parts 2 and 3 below (Click HERE for part 1):

This article is related to: Things That Make You Go Hmm...


Shadow & ActNewsletter