The films, the stars, the filmmakers-all get their due in Hollywood Black, a sweeping overview of blacks in film from the silent era through Black Panther, with striking photos and an engrossing history by award-winning author Donald Bogle.
The story opens in the silent film era, when white actors in blackface often played black characters, but also saw the rise of independent African American filmmakers, including the remarkable Oscar Micheaux. It follows the changes in the film industry with the arrival of sound motion pictures and the Great Depression, when black performers such as Stepin Fetchit and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson began finding a place in Hollywood. More often than not, they were saddled with rigidly stereotyped roles, but some gifted performers, most notably Hattie McDaniel in Gone With the Wind (1939), were able to turn in significant performances.
In the coming decades, more black talents would light up the screen. Dorothy Dandridge became the first African American to earn a Best Actress Oscar nomination for Carmen Jones (1954), and Sidney Poitier broke ground in films like The Defiant Ones and1963's Lilies of the Field. Hollywood Black reveals the changes in images that came about with the evolving social and political atmosphere of the US, from the Civil Rights era to the Black Power movement. The story takes readers through Blaxploitation, with movies like Shaft and Super Fly, to the emergence of such stars as Cicely Tyson, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, and Whoopi Goldberg, and of directors Spike Lee and John Singleton.
The history comes into the new millennium with filmmakers Barry Jenkins (Moonlight), Ava Du Vernay (Selma),and Ryan Coogler (Black Panther); megastars such as Denzel Washington, Will Smith, and Morgan Freeman; as well as Halle Berry, Angela Bassett, Viola Davis, and a glorious gallery of others.
Filled with evocative photographs and stories of stars and filmmakers on set and off, Hollywood Black tells an underappreciated history as it's never before been told.
About the Author
Donald Bogle is one of the foremost authorities on African Americans in films and entertainment history. His nine books include the groundbreaking Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks; the award-winning Bright Boulevards, Bold Dreams; the bestselling Dorothy Dandridge: A Biography; and Brown Sugar, which the author adapted into a PBS documentary series. Bogle has appeared on numerous television and radio programs; and in such documentaries as Spike Lee's Jim Brown: All-American. He was a special commentator and consultant for Turner Classic Movies' award-winning series Race and Hollywood. Bogle teaches at the University of Pennsylvania and New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He lives in Manhattan.
"This book engagingly chronicles the challenges and achievements of African Americans in Hollywood....Bogle's narrative style makes for absorbing reading, and the book's glossy, photo-filled pages will further attract readers."—Booklist
"Utterly essential and sophisticated..."—-Jeff Simon, Buffalo News
"The leading scholar and historian on African Americans in film puts it all in one volume in this well-illustrated study."—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"A superb and detailed book that both educates and informs. I can't recommend this title enough."—DVDCorner.net
"No one knows more (or has written more extensively) about the history of African-Americans' contributions to cinema than Donald Bogle."—-Leonard Maltin, LeonardMaltin.com