Thanks, Belle, it’s nice to see a face like mine on screen

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2014-06-11 20:27Z by Steven

Thanks, Belle, it’s nice to see a face like mine on screen

The Guardian (The Observer)

Ashley Clark

In giving top billing to Gugu Mbatha-Raw, the film Belle makes a real contribution to raising awareness of the mixed-race experience

My heart leaps whenever I see the poster for Amma Asante’s new film, Belle, high up on billboards around town. The poised, sincere face of its lead actress, Gugu Mbatha-Raw (a Brit of black South African and white English extraction), towers above an otherwise white cast including Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, and ex-Harry Potter villain Tom Felton.

Why? As a mixed-race Brit myself – white and black Caribbean, as I’ve been checking in the relevant boxes for some years now – it’s always been significant to me to see someone who looks like they could be a close relative in the foreground rather than the background. The film’s protagonist, Dido Elizabeth Belle, as you might now know, is based on an actual 18th-century mixed-race woman of white British and black African heritage who was raised as an aristocrat…

…The sociologist Emma Dabiri convincingly argues that “black-mixed people can be racialised as black, whereas non-black-mixed people are able to inhabit a more ambiguous exotic space”. This, says Dabiri, puts paid to the myth that all mixed-race groups can be packaged together – as the media often attempt to do – as one separate, monolithic community: a tidy narrative of progress…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , , ,