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Film Forum Asks, What Is the Experience of Black Women in Film

"Film Forum’s latest series, “Black Women: Trailblazing African American Performers & Images, 1920-2001,” was an event that wrapped up a week ago... Among the women featured here are Josephine Baker, Evelyn Preer, Pam Grier, Diahann Carroll and Janet Jackson. It’s rare to see a film series of this size devoted to black actresses, many of whom — like Theresa Harris and Francine Everett — were underappreciated in their lifetimes, relegated to uncredited roles as maids and servants. With over 60 films and special events, including tributes to Ella Fitzgerald and the archivist Pearl Bowser, the Film Forum series has many themes. Maybe too many. But what is clear is that each work helps tell the history of black women in film and how they operated — both subversively and overtly — to tell their stories, even when scripts failed to flesh out their characters... While things are changing, black actresses and other actresses of color still struggle in a white, male-dominated industry (just look at this year’s Oscar nominees), fighting for some control over their roles. “We do have more women working now, more women in general, but these problems continue,” Bogle said in a recent phone interview. “Of all the stereotypes, the mammy figure is the one that America cherishes the most.”

Read the full article and interview here!


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