By Kwakiutl L. Dreher
Investigates the literary voices of six Black ladies entertainers and the way they negotiated the tensions among the leisure industries and the Black group.
Read or Download Dancing on the White Page: Black Women Entertainers Writing Autobiography (S U N Y Series, Cultural Studies in Cinema Video) PDF
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Additional info for Dancing on the White Page: Black Women Entertainers Writing Autobiography (S U N Y Series, Cultural Studies in Cinema Video)
Wilson 151). Gerald Posner notes, “[s]ome rules were absolute: no closing your eyes when singing; no frowning; no finger snapping; and no spreading your legs or sticking out your buttocks. [. ] The Supremes were [Mrs. Powell’s] star pupils [. ]” (115). The Supremes’ performances and photo spreads of the group are distinct displays of Mrs. Powell’s teachings. The young women follow the talent maven’s counsel in fashion and public deportment that ultimately construct black ladyhood from the house of Motown.
Organized by the Negro Hollywood actors, the FPC campaigns for better parts for the Negro performers long before White arrives in Hollywood. White offends several veteran black actors, such as Clarence Muse (Hearts in Dixie, 1929), because of his failure to acknowledge the Screen Actors Guild. First on the FPC’s agenda is to “lessen the screen images of blacks as a ‘bunch of careless, illiterate porters, mammies, waiters, and sharecroppers’” (Jackson 102). White practically ignores the FPC and the Screen Actors Guild opting instead to consult directly with Hollywood producers.
On the lower levels, in the South, the black woman was often the classic “kept woman” in a cabin. Today she might be in an apartment, or more likely visited from time to time, but in any case she is sexually used. (221) This passage in Dandridge’s autobiography Everything and Nothing eases an understanding of her on-screen performance as Aiché, the Dutch slave captain’s mistress, in Tamango (1958). Dandridge transfers to her character all of her bitterness and rage not only over her own exploitation, but she also speaks for the abuse of black women since slavery through Aiché.