Mixed Race Hollywood (review) [Emily D. Edwards]

Posted in Articles, Arts, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2010-01-26 03:51Z by Steven

Mixed Race Hollywood (review) [Emily D. Edwards]

Journal of Film and Video
Volume 61, Number 4 (Winter 2009)
E-ISSN: 1934-6018
Print ISSN: 0742-4671
DOI: 10.1353/jfv.0.0051

Emily D. Edwards, Professor of Broadcasting and Cinema
University of North Carolina, Greensboro

Mixed Race Hollywood is a collection of essays that could not be timelier. As popular media, journalists, and citizen bloggers actively dispute the impact of President Barack Obama’s election on attitudes toward race, editors Mary Beltrán and Camilla Fojas have compiled a series of essays that explore ways popular media and celebrity have presented miscegenation and racial identity for Americans. These historical and critical essays analyze specific films, television programs, Internet sites, and the appearance of celebrity image to help explain the ways popular media presentations of race correspond with the development of social behaviors and attitudes. Though some might credit “liberal Hollywood” for ushering America into the “mulatto millennium,” it is obvious from the collection of essays in this book that Hollywood is not always the leader of public opinion but often takes the more conservative approach, lagging behind fairly widespread social attitudes.

The editors divide the book into four sections: themes of mixed race representation, miscegenation and romance, genre and mixed race characters, and finally, a section that examines the shift in media presentation of mixed race characters from tragic to heroic. The introduction by Beltrán and Fojas helps set the background and the overall argument that media presentations reveal a cultural shift in American attitudes toward mixed race characters. The introduction also provides some useful notes on terminology.

The essays begin, appropriately, with J. E. Smyth’s chapter, “Classical Hollywood and the Filmic Writing of Interracial History, 1931–1939.” This chapter examines films such as Cimarron (1931), Ramona (1936), Show Boat (1936), Jezebel (1938)…

Read the entire review here.

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