French Film History and Black actors

This was a random find but I felt the need to post it here (hopefully you will be able to open the NYT webpage:

https://www.nytimes.com/1992/08/05/movies/how-european-films-have-treated-blacks-through-the-years.html

I am not totally keen on the tone of the article, many because it ignores (or is ignorant of) the number of Black slaves in Europe pre British emancipation.

Sigh.

Zou Zou, 1934. with Josephine Baker in starring role.

New York Times Archives, August 5, 1992, Section C, Page 13

The Office is open

And so it is that I find myself working in full throttle. I have a music rehearsal in an hour as my double bassist and I are due to perform at a few venues in the upcoming weeks. More to follow as I await confirmations.

I am taking bookings for Black History Month, of course, but don’t forget that International Women’s Day is coming up in March.

In the meantime, my research continues. To further my work I am developing some “wish lists” of books I could use in my library. Contributions to that will be greatly appreciated so feel free to contact me on that front.

Stay tuned!

Charles “Honi” Coles

Hiding in plain sight as Tito Suarez in the film Dirty Dancing, Charles “Honi” Coles was a brilliant and innovative tap dancer.

He met  Charles “Cholly” Atkins 1940 with whom he partered for 19 years. According to Wikipedia, “Coles placed tap in the world of concert art when he performed in the Joffrey Ballet‘s production of Agnes de Mille‘s Conversations about the Dance.

Coles made his Broadway debut in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes in 1949. He also appeared in Bubbling Brown Sugar and My One and Only, for which he received both the Tony and Drama Desk Award for his performance.”

But two things stick out for me. One: Coles taught dance and dance history at YaleCornellDuke, and George Washington University in the 1980s

And two, short of Dirty Dancing, I had no knowledge of Coles. Time to rectify that.

Mr. Trump, America was their home

Mr. Trump, my grandparents and aunt made the decision to leave Guyana and make the United States home.

Carmen, my grandmother,

My grandfather served as Senior Geological Land Surveyor for the New York and New Jersey Port Authority. My grandmother was an Registered Nurse in obstetrics, who delivered a myriad of American babies.

My aunt, an RN, was a first responder at 9/11 and died as a result of her service.

Like your grandparents, my aunt and grandparents came to the US to have a better life.

And now you have the nerve to tell me that because they weren’t white they weren’t American? That they should have gone home? Because that’s what you told those four Congresswomen.

My grandmother served in WW2 – can you say the same?

Unlike your grandfather (German born), my grandparents did not see the need to lie about their ethnicity, a lie you yourself have maintained. I suspect he was afraid of being interned in the same cages you seem so fond of using.

Luckily for me, my mother took a different route. She let her green card lapse. Instead of following the rest of her family to the United States, she opted to come to Canada,

This Canadian, born and raised, will be forever grateful for her mother’s decision.

Ariel: the same ol’ story

Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Halle Bailey (TLM revisioned?), Naomie Harris (Calypso from Pirates of the Caribbean)

Let me take a crack at this, shall we?

Forgive the expletive but this sh*t is not new. I watched the same racist furor with James Bond and Doctor Who.

What gets me, though, is how short everybody’s memory is. Halle Bailey (not Berry – though she has her own “she’s playing a white woman’s part” water association a la Ursula Andress) is NOT the first black woman to play a female sea creature.

Have we forgotten Naomie Harris’ role as Calypso in Pirates of the Caribbean? When you think about it the two characters have similarities, if you compare PotC with the original Hans Christian Anderson story. Both fall in love with a white (hu)man, both get screwed over by a white guy.

Which leads me to this question – do we really want to continue this Strange Days legacy? WHICH fantasy/scifi roles will Black women get going forward and how problematic are those roles going to be? Or can we follow the Black Panther banner, problems and all, and move on.

Meanwhile, unlike the fantasy genre both of these characters inhabit, trolls are very much a reality today. My take?

The trolls can stick it.

And the bottom line is the bottom line – there is no way in heck Disney would take a risk like this if they did not think a black mermaid  would sell. 

In the end, it is all about buying and selling, isn’t it? The irony is not lost on me.