Blackface Minstrelsy Essay - 2264 Words | Cram

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FREE American Blackface Minstrelsy Essay

Writes Eric Lott in Love and Theft: Blackface Minstrelsy and the American Working Class, "The Black mask offered a way to play with the collective fears of a degraded and threatening—and male—Other while at the same time maintaining some symbolic control over them."

“Antebellum America, 1984-1865: Blackface Minstrelsy” Pembroke, NC: University of North Carolina at Pembroke, 2001

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In Bamboozled (2000), Spike Lee addresses the legacy of blackface minstrelsy, and raises the question of who is wearing the blackface now. Many of the Black characters in television comedies today are derived from the same racist stereotypes of blacks that have existed since the days of minstrel shows. The FOX Television sitcom, South Central (1994) was, in the words of Brotherhood Crusade President Danny Blackwell, "the Amos 'n' Andy of 1994." The Parent 'Hood (1995-2000), a program aimed at family viewers, relied on working class coon and mammy caricatures for a good portion of its humor.

This depicted their dissatisfaction with the treatment by the Blackface Minstrelsy actors (Crawford, 2001).

In the late 1800s one of the most popular of the blackface performances was the adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin; an antislavery tale, it met with few objections even from anti-theater religious leaders. A mixture of minstrel show, circus, and spectacle; with trained dogs, ponies, and sometimes even a crocodile, it remained the most popular play in America for over a century.

A lot of vaudeville lingo, and its earliest comedians, musicians and actors as well, were transplants from the blackface minstrel tradition.


professional essay on History of Blackface Minstrelsy

Minstrelsy is not alone. The history of American popular entertainment includes countless stereotypes of specific ethnic and immigrant groups. Though black people were not the sole victims of artistic mockery—the drunk Irishman and money-grubbing Jew were among some of the other theatrical stereotypes—the minstrel tradition became, unfortunately, one of the most iconic theatrical genres in our history.

Blackface minstrelsy essays on global warming

The American was effectively dead by WW1, yet some old-timers continued to peddle the same blackface stereotypes later in vaudeville, films and television. It's one of the interesting twists of history that in the first half of the twentieth century, the main purveyors of the old-fashioned blackface minstrel tradition were Black performers, who'd began in show business wearing the blackface mask -- either literally or figuratively -- and were reluctant to give it up.

The stock characters of blackface minstrelsy have played a ..

While minstrel shows encouraged the promotion of music and what Americans may have considered to be the high points of black culture in some shows, they also showed extreme discrimination and racial inequality....

History of Minstrel Shows: Introduction - 1 | Old Time Radio

The heritage of blackface minstrelsy played a major part in the evolution of the song, dance, comedy acts and routines that vaudeville popularized, but actual performances in blackface were mostly relegated to a single skit or a song. However blackface in vaudeville also provided opportunities for Blacks who performed in blackface. The success of Black comedians such as Ernest Hogan, Bert Williams, and George Walker opened the door for multiracial casts and for later black performers to take the stage without blackface.

History of Minstrel Shows: Introduction - 1

Originating in the White man's characterizations of plantation slaves and free blacks during the era of minstrel shows (1830-1890), the caricatures took such a firm hold on the American imagination that audiences expected any person with dark skin, no matter what their background, to conform to one or more of the stereotypes: