Michaela Angela Davis Strips Down For The “What’s Underneath Project,” Talks Racism, Insecurities

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Interviews, Media Archive, United States, Videos, Women on 2016-08-22 23:28Z by Steven

Michaela Angela Davis Strips Down For The “What’s Underneath Project,” Talks Racism, Insecurities

Madame Noire

Brande Victorian, Managing Editor

Michaela Angela Davis has long been everything and then some to us, and our opinion of the writer, culture critique, and activist has only skyrocketed after watching her strip down for StyleLikeU’s highly regarded “What’s Underneath Project.”…

…And we’re thankful for that. Here are the highlights from Davis’ interview:

On assumptions people make about her because of how she looks

“The first, sort of obvious assumption is that I’m mixed race– like one parent is white, one parent is Black — and it’s not so. Both of my parents are light-skinned and Black. Both of my parents are products of what I call the great horror story of America and the great love story of America. In order to survive, often families would marry other light-skinned Blacks to stay alive…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , , ,

Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “Imitation Of Life”

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Media Archive, United States on 2014-11-03 18:57Z by Steven

Bet You Didn’t Know: Secrets Behind The Making Of “Imitation Of Life”

Madame Noire

Veronica Wells, Associate Editor

Everybody knows Imitation of Life. It’s the movie plenty of Black families reference when they speak about the original tearjerkers. When you think about it, it’s amazing that a movie that handled subjects such as race and class in such a real way was released during the beginning of the Civil Rights era. And surprisingly the version most of us know and love, the one with Mahalia Jackson, is a remake of a remake. Check out some of the little known facts behind the making of this classic film…

…Fredi Washington

Fredi Washington was the young actress who played a nineteen-year-old Peola Johnson (Sarah Jane Johnson in the ’59 version.) They approached her to play the older version of Sarah Jane in the 1959 remake but she declined because she didn’t want to only be known as the black actress who was always passing for white.

Washington, whose parents were both biracial, had very fair skin and green eyes but she was adamant about the fact that she identified as black. She told the Chicago Defender,

“You see I’m a mighty proud gal and I can’t for the life of me, find any valid reason why anyone should lie about their origin or anything else for that matter. Frankly, I do not ascribe to the stupid theory of white supremacy and to try to hide the fact that I am a Negro for economic or any other reasons, if I do I would be agreeing to be a Negro makes me inferior and that I have swallowed whole hog all of the propaganda dished out by our fascist-minded white citizens.”

Washington eventually left acting because she was only offered roles where she had to play the tragic mulatto. And while she was fair and maybe appeared White to others, she was not allowed to star alongside White male leads because she was so vocal about her African heritage.

Sarah Jane

Although many African American actresses were tested, eventually, the role of Sarah Jane went to Susan Kohner, who was of Mexican and Czech-Jewish descent…

Read the entire article here.

Tags: , , ,

“Little White Lie”: Black And Jewish Filmmaker Documents Growing Up Believing She Was White

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Judaism, Media Archive, Religion, United States on 2014-08-10 18:45Z by Steven

“Little White Lie”: Black And Jewish Filmmaker Documents Growing Up Believing She Was White

Madame Noire

Veronica Wells

Most of us know from a very early age that we’re Black. It happens so early that many of us can’t remember a specific conversation or moment where we learned this truth. But that wasn’t the case for 37-year-old Lacey Schwartz.

Schwartz, a Harvard Law School graduate turned filmmaker, didn’t learn she was black until she was 18 years old. While many of us would look at Schwartz, with her light brown skin and dark, curly hair and suspect immediately that she has at least some Black ancestry, she was told by her Jewish family that she was White and had inherited her dark skin from her Sicilian grandfather.

Her story is so fascinating, so remarkable, that she decided to make it the subject for her documentary Little White Lie which premiered at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival this past weekend. It will eventually make its way to PBS next year.

The documentary, narrated, obviously, by Schwartz herself, details her at a funeral, discussions with her girlfriends and therapy sessions where she asks over and over again how she was able to “pass for white.”

In the film, Schwartz offers a bit of an explanation: “I come from a long line of New York Jews. My family knew who they were, and they defined who I was.”

Read the entire review here.

Tags: , ,