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Black Hollywood1984

  • 4.4
Shot entirely on location in Hollywood in 1984, this feature documentary explores the role of black actors, black directors and the black audience in American movies. Remember the early 80s: hip hop had just been born, break dancing filled clubs and streets and Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor were the only two black stars making it. In an action-packed showcase of clips and interviews, Diahnne Abbott, Rosalind Cash and Alfre Woodard talk about negative stereotyping. Jim Brown, Vonetta McGee and D'Urville Martin come up with alternative solutions to the one-way-street that was "blaxploitation" and discuss new ways of advancing an independent black cinema. There is a rare interview with Lorenzo Tucker, the Black Valentino, about his career with Oscar Micheaux. Joel Fluellen and Vincent Tubbs tell memorable stories of what life was like for the few blacks working in Hollywood in the 50s and 60s (including Dorothy Dandridge). There is a marvelous speech by Sidney Poitier on accepting the Black Hall of Fame "Oscar". Griffith's THE BIRTH OF A NATION is panned. Grandmaster Flash and his "Message" is the theme tune and the writer Oscar Williams holds the whole show together with his advice to the creative outsider.

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Member Reviews (3)

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top reviewer

very insightful and a great history of Black Men and Women in the Cinema History of the U.S.A. Thoughtful and Important film for Young Students of All Races, Genders & Socio-Economic Backgrounds **** Cyber Space & Technology is the $$$Economic Equalizer ***

This was a fascinating documentary. I thought it would be a fun and possibly informative period piece, but I also thought it would be kind of silly since it is after all a made-for-TV documentary from 1984. It was definitely ultra-80s in an enjoyable way, but it was not silly. The people interviewed are extremely frank and say fascinating things both about the history of black Hollywood and about what it was like being a black actor, director, etc. in Hollywood thirty years ago. I wish someone would do a sequel about black Hollywood today. It seems that things have changed for the better but sadly not as much as most of the interviewees hoped.

Wonderful film. Very Insightful.Thank you.