Hollywood has long shown discomfort with interracial couples, but change is happening

Posted in Articles, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2016-11-11 02:22Z by Steven

Hollywood has long shown discomfort with interracial couples, but change is happening

The Los Angeles Times

Lewis Beale

Katherine Houghton puts a flower in Sidney Poitier’s hair in a scene from the film “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.” (Getty Images)

In 1967, the same year the Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia struck down laws banning miscegenation, Sidney Poitier starred in “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” as a black man romantically involved with blond Katherine Houghton.

Yet in both real and reel life, black-white romantic relationships were problematic, fraught with legal and social taboos. In the case of Loving, that meant rural Virginia couple Richard and Mildred Loving, who married in Washington, D.C., in 1958, were arrested in their home state, forced to move away or be jailed, and spent years fighting the racist law that affected them until the Supreme Court unanimously overturned it.

“The fact any miscegenation laws even existed, these are vestiges of slavery,” says Jeff Nichols, director of “Loving,” a new film based on the famous case starring Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga. “All of this speaks to the institutionalized racism in the South.”

“Guess,” which was released six months after the Loving decision, was, in its own way, meant to be a liberal antidote to situations like this. In director Stanley Kramer’s film,  parents and friends of the romantic couple discuss the pros and cons of their romance in a civilized manner until the woman’s father (played by Spencer Tracy) gives his blessing to the relationship…

Read the entire article here.

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Poitier Revisited: Reconsidering a Black Icon in the Obama Age

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United Kingdom, United States on 2015-08-08 05:10Z by Steven

Poitier Revisited: Reconsidering a Black Icon in the Obama Age

Bloomsbury Publishing
288 pages
25 bw illus
229 x 152 mm
Hardback ISBN: 9781623564919

Edited by:

Ian Gregory Strachan, Associate Professor of English
College of The Bahamas

Mia Mask, Associate Professor of Film
Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York

Sidney Poitier remains one of the most recognizable black men in the world. Widely celebrated but at times criticized for the roles he played during a career that spanned 60 years, there can be no comprehensive discussion of black men in American film, and no serious analysis of 20th century American film history that excludes him. Poitier Revisited offers a fresh interrogation of the social, cultural and political significance of the Poitier oeuvre. The contributions explore the broad spectrum of critical issues summoned up by Poitier’s iconic work as actor, director and filmmaker. Despite his stature, Poitier has actually been under-examined in film criticism generally. This work reconsiders his pivotal role in film and American race relations, by arguing persuasively, that even in this supposedly ‘post-racial’ moment of Barack Obama, the struggles, aspirations, anxieties, and tensions Poitier’s films explored are every bit as relevant today as when they were first made.

Table of Contents

  • List of Figures
  • Acknowledgements
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Introduction
  • 1. Walking with Kings: Poitier, King, and Obama / Aram Goudsouzian, University of Memphis, USA
  • 2. Historicizing the Shadows and Acts: No Way Out and the Imagining of Black Activist Communities / Ryan De Rosa, Los Angeles Public Schools, USA
  • 3. Caribbean All-Stars: Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, and the Rise of the African-American Leading Man / Belinda Edmondson, Professor of English and African-American & African Studies, USA
  • 4. “Draggin’ the Chain”: Linking Civil Rights and African American Representation in The Defiant Ones and In the Heat of the Night / Emma Hamilton and Troy Saxby, University of Newcastle, Australia
  • 5. Whisper Campaign on Catfish Row: Sidney Poitier and Porgy and Bess / Jeff Smith, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
  • 6. To Sir, With Love: A Black British Perspective / Mark Christian, Lehman College, USA
  • 7. Transgression or Legal Union?: The Meaning of Interracial Marriage in 1967 Film and Law / Kim Warren, University of Kansas, USA
  • 8. A Blues the Tom: Sidney Poitier’s Filmic Sexual Identities / Ian Gregory Strachan, College of The Bahamas, Bahamas
  • 9. Black Masculinity on Horseback: From Duel at Diablo to Buck and the Preacher and beyond / Mia Mask, Vassar College, USA
  • 10. Stepping Behind the Camera: Sidney Poitier’s Directorial Career / Keith Corson, Rhodes College and Memphis College of Art, USA
  • 11. No Shafts, Super Flys, or Foxy Browns: Sidney Poitier’s Uptown Saturday Night as Alternative to Blaxploitation Cinema” / Novotny Lawrence, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, USA
  • 12. Transcending Paul Poitier: Six Degrees of Separation and the Construction of Will Smith / Willie Tolliver, Jr., Agnes Scott College, USA
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