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This title in other editions

Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film

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Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Synopsis:

This insightful study places African American women's stardom in historical and industrial contexts by examining the star personae of five African American women: Dorothy Dandridge, Pam Grier, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Halle Berry. Interpreting each woman's celebrity as predicated on a brand of charismatic authority, Mia Mask shows how these female stars have ultimately complicated the conventional discursive practices through which blackness and womanhood have been represented in commercial cinema, independent film, and network television.

Mask examines the function of these stars in seminal yet underanalyzed films. She considers Dandridge's status as a sexual commodity in films such as Tamango, revealing the contradictory discourses regarding race and sexuality in segregation-era American culture. Grier's feminist-camp performances in sexploitation pictures Women in Cages and The Big Doll House and her subsequent blaxploitation vehicles Coffy and Foxy Brown highlight a similar tension between representing African American women as both objectified stereotypes and powerful, self-defining icons. Mask reads Goldberg's transforming habits in Sister Act and The Associate as representative of her unruly comedic routines, while Winfrey's daily television performance as self-made, self-help guru echoes Horatio Alger narratives of success. Finally, Mask analyzes Berry's meteoric success by acknowledging the ways in which Dandridge's career made Berry's possible.

Synopsis:

Accessible, theoretical readings of popular African American women film icons

About the Author

 Mia Mask is an associate professor of film at Vassar College.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780252076190
Author:
Mask, Mia
Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
Subject:
Women's Studies
Subject:
Actresses
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Women's Studies - General
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - General
Subject:
Film & Video - History & Criticism
Subject:
Film - History & Criticism
Subject:
Actresses -- United States.
Subject:
African American motion picture actors and ac
Subject:
Women's Studies - History
Subject:
Ethnic Studies - African American Studies - Histor
Subject:
Film and Television-History and Criticism
Edition Description:
1st Edition
Publication Date:
20090731
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 black and white photographs
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9.00 x 6.00 in

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Ethnicity and Gender
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » General
Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » History and Criticism
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Featured Titles
History and Social Science » African American Studies » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » General

Divas on Screen: Black Women in American Film New Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages University of Illinois Press - English 9780252076190 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,

This insightful study places African American women's stardom in historical and industrial contexts by examining the star personae of five African American women: Dorothy Dandridge, Pam Grier, Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Halle Berry. Interpreting each woman's celebrity as predicated on a brand of charismatic authority, Mia Mask shows how these female stars have ultimately complicated the conventional discursive practices through which blackness and womanhood have been represented in commercial cinema, independent film, and network television.

Mask examines the function of these stars in seminal yet underanalyzed films. She considers Dandridge's status as a sexual commodity in films such as Tamango, revealing the contradictory discourses regarding race and sexuality in segregation-era American culture. Grier's feminist-camp performances in sexploitation pictures Women in Cages and The Big Doll House and her subsequent blaxploitation vehicles Coffy and Foxy Brown highlight a similar tension between representing African American women as both objectified stereotypes and powerful, self-defining icons. Mask reads Goldberg's transforming habits in Sister Act and The Associate as representative of her unruly comedic routines, while Winfrey's daily television performance as self-made, self-help guru echoes Horatio Alger narratives of success. Finally, Mask analyzes Berry's meteoric success by acknowledging the ways in which Dandridge's career made Berry's possible.

"Synopsis" by ,
Accessible, theoretical readings of popular African American women film icons
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