Category Archives: Film

#OscarsSlightlyLessWhite: the 2017 Academy Awards

Promotional image for the 89th Academy Awards, featuring the phrase “Oscar 2017” and an image of a golden Academy Award Statue.

It’s no secret that the Academy Awards have historically been less than diverse. Last year, frustrations overflowed after all 20 of the nominees for Best Acting awards were white for the second year in a row. Widespread dissatisfaction with this state of affairs manifested online in the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, coined by activist April Reign.

In response to this criticism, Reign led the Academy in taking some steps to diversify itself. In 2016, the Academy invited 683 new members to its highly secretive roster of approximately 6,000. Of this new class, nearly half were women and people of color: 46% women and 41% POC. (Compare that to the previous year’s class, which was 25% women and 8% POC.) While the Academy remains disproportionately white and male, it has committed to doubling the number of women and minorities in its roster by 2020.

Shockingly, it would almost seem that increasing the number women and people of color in the Academy leads to having more women and people of color nominated in the Academy Awards! Although there is a long way to go before parity is achieved, this year’s Oscars are some of the most diverse yet, and have marked a historic level of achievement for Black performers, directors, writers, and filmmakers. Some of the history-making nominations at the 2017 Oscars include:

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New @the SCL: “Super black : American pop culture and black superheroes”

Are you a fan of superhero movies? Then today’s SCL Pick is for you! One of our latest arrivals is Super black : American pop culture and black superheroes, by Adilifu Nama (University of Texas Press, 2011). Check out an excerpt from the publisher’s review below:

“Nama examines seminal black comic book superheroes such as Black Panther, Black Lightning, Storm, Luke Cage, Blade, the Falcon, Nubia, and others, some of whom also appear on the small and large screens, as well as how the imaginary black superhero has come to life in the image of President Barack Obama. Super Black explores how black superheroes are a powerful source of racial meaning, narrative, and imagination in American society that express a myriad of racial assumptions, political perspectives, and fantastic (re)imaginings of black identity. The book also demonstrates how these figures overtly represent or implicitly signify social discourse and accepted wisdom concerning notions of racial reciprocity, equality, forgiveness, and ultimately, racial justice.” (Source: http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/books/namsue.html)

Looking for more on the topic? Professor Nama has also written Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film, which is available at Davis Library. If you’re looking to broaden your search, subject headings that may be of use include “African Americans in motion pictures” and “Blacks in motion pictures.” There’s also the Stone Center Library’s Guide to the Web, which features sections on Films and Documentaries, as well as Film Festivals. And, as always, we’re happy to provide reference assistance – whether it’s in person, via email, or through chat reference (StoneCenterRef) – come on by for a consultation!

SCL Picks: Oscars Edition

The 84th annual Academy Awards will take place this Sunday and among this year’s contenders is The Help, which has been nominated for four awards, including nods for Viola Davis (Best Actress) and Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress). This film takes place in 1960s Mississippi and chronicles the intersecting lives of white women and their African-American maids against the backdrop of major social upheaval nationwide. Of course, before it was an Oscar-nominated film, The Help was a best-selling book, as reviewed by Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier in a previous SCL blog post, and available here at the Library.

Interested in learning more about African Americans and the film industry? Here, in no particular order, are ten titles to get you started:

The books listed above are but a sampling of related items available here at the Stone Center Library. Come by and check us out!

New @the SCL, Part 2: The Arts!

Welcome back, faithful readers! Yesterday we posted the first of three listings of new books currently on display here at the Stone Center Library. Today’s new titles cover a wide range of the arts, including dance, film, music, and visual arts.

The Devil Finds Work (James Baldwin)

Horror Noire: Blacks in American Horror Films from the 1890s to Present (Robin R. Means Coleman)

Black Social Dance in Television Advertising: An Analytical History (Carla Stalling Huntington)

Marion D. Cuyjet and Her Judimar School of Dance: Training Black Ballerinas in Black Philadelphia 1948-1971 (Melanye White Dixon; with a Foreword by Lynette Young Overby)

The Dance Claimed Me: a Biography of Pearl Primus (Peggy & Murray Schwartz)

The Life, Art, and Times of Joseph Delaney, 1904-1991 (Frederick C. Moffatt)  

A to Z of African Americans: African Americans in the Visual Arts (Steven Otfinoski)

Back in the Days: Remix (Photographs by Jamel Shabazz)

Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade (Maurie D. McInnis)

Intrigued by any of the above titles? Click on the links for a brief summary or come by the Library and peruse at your leisure!

Coming tomorrow: post three of three, featuring a bevy of hot topics such as religion, gender studies, and more… stay tuned!

NEW SCL DISPLAY!

Have you been by the Stone Center Library lately? If so, you’ve hopefully noticed our new display:

Our latest selection of recently acquired books features titles related to African Americans in American culture, in keeping with our recent event with UNC history professor “Fitz” Brundage:

All titles are available here at the library and we encourage you to come by and check them out. Happy reading, and have a great weekend!

TODAY at 5:00pm in Wilson: Beyond Blackface booktalk… plus related UNC resources

We hope you’re all excited for TODAY’S book talk with UNC history professor “Fitz” Brundage, as he discusses his latest book, Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture, 1890-1930 (UNC Press 2011).

Event details (also available on Facebook):

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5:00pm Reception | Main Lobby, Wilson Library

5:30pm Program | Pleasants Family Assembly Room

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Free and open to the public

In anticipation of this event, Stone Center Librarian Shauna Collier has put together a list of related books available at UNC libraries. Check it out!

Happy reading, and we hope to see you TODAY at 5pm in Wilson Library!

Save the date: Tuesday, Nov. 1st @5pm, African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture

Save the date! On Tuesday, November 1st, UNC history professor Fitzhugh Brundage will deliver a lecture on the history of African Americans in American popular culture. The talk will will take place at 5:30pm in the Wilson Special Collections Library, with a reception at 5:00pm. This event is FREE  and open to the PUBLIC

Brundage is the editor of the UNC Press book Beyond Blackface: African Americans and the Creation of American Popular Culture, 1890-1930, a collection of essays from sixteen scholars in various disciplines that “address the complex roles of black performers, entrepreneurs, and consumers in American mass culture during the early twentieth century.” This book is currently available at Davis Library and the North Carolina Collection (library use only) – check for availability here.

Brundage is also the William Umstead Distinguished Professor of history at UNC, and his books include The Southern Past : A Clash of Race and Memory(2005), A Socialist Utopia in the New South: The Ruskin Colonies in Tennessee and Georgia, 1894-1901 (1996) and Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930.  (1993) 

In 2006, he was awarded the Lillian Smith Award from the Southern Regional Council and the Southern Historical Association’s Charles S. Sydnor Award for a distinguished book in southern history for The Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory.

This event is sponsored by the Friends of the Library and the Stone Center Library for Black Culture & History. For more information, contact: Liza TerllFriends of the Library at (919) 962-4207 or liza_terll@unc.edu.

Hope to see you there!  


FREE film screening TOMORROW (2/8) at the Stone Center: “Frederick Douglass and the White Negro” (2008)

The Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History kicks off the spring semester of its FREE Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film TOMORROW (2/8) evening at 7pm with a showing of “Frederick Douglass and the White Negro” (2008), directed by John Doherty.

 

“This documentary tells the story of this important 19th century leader and his escape from slavery, leading to refuge in Ireland on the eve of the Great Famine. The film focuses on the powerful influence Ireland had on him as a young man. It also explores the turbulent relationship between African Americans and Irish Americans in general. The relationship is exposed as a complex and tragic sequence of events culminating in the bloodiest riot in American history. This transatlantic story covers the race issue and is as relevant today as it was when Douglass escaped to Ireland—“I can truly say, I have spent some of the happiest moments of my life since landing in this country. I seem to have undergone a transformation. I live a new life…I am met by no upturned nose and scornful lip telling me ‘We don’t allow niggers in here!’””


This semester’s other screenings will be held on 2/10, 2/17, 2/24, 3/3, and 3/15.  Screenings generally feature commentary by the directors and/or relevant scholars and are held in the Stone Center’s Hitchcock Multipurpose Room.  For a full calendar of the films to be shown, click here.

 

Hope to see you there! 🙂

 

 

TOMORROW:Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: The Stone Center‘s Diaspora Festival of Black and Independent Film comes to a close TOMORROW (11/16), with a viewing of “The Importance of Being Elegant” (2004) at 7:00 p.m in the Hitchcock Multipurpose Room.

“This documentary follows the unusual club, La SAPE. Its Congolese members elevate fashion to religion. Despite hardship, they only wear ultra-premium labels. The film follows their leader, musician Papa Wemba, who was released on bail after allegedly smuggling illegal immigrants. Facing legal fees and a trial, he records a new album and prepares for an extravagant come-back concert in Paris.”

This film is 70 minutes long and was directed by George Amponsah and Cosima Spender.  For more information, please contact: stonecenter@unc.edu or (919) 962-9001.