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An embedded video essay on race in 1940s Hollywood

by Critical Commons Manager

A three-minute sequence mid-way through the James Baldwin documentary illustrates Baldwin's childhood recollections about depictions of African Americans on the screens of Hollywood. This sequence takes the form of what we would today describe as a video essay, offering both a personal, essayistic reflection along with an incisive social critique of the personification of heroism in white characters engaged in the act of genocide, compared with the uncanny terror manifested by a black character wrongly suspected of murder.

Video essay on race representations within I Am Not Your Negro

James Baldwin reflects on depictions of African Americans in in this sequence illustrated with clips from Hollywood cinema

from I Am Not Your Negro (2016)
Creator: Raoul Peck
Distributor: Velvet Film
Posted by Critical Commons Manager