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Other titles in the Console-Ing Passions: Television and Cultural Power series:
Tuning Out Blackness: Race and Nation in the History of Puerto Rican Television (Console-Ing Passions)by Yeidy Rivero
Synopses & Reviews
Tuning Out Blackness fills a glaring omission in U.S. and Latin American television studies by looking at the history of Puerto Rican television. In exploring the political and cultural dynamics that have shaped racial representations in Puerto Ricoandrsquo;s commercial media from the late 1940s to the 1990s, Yeidy M. Rivero advances critical discussions about race, ethnicity, and the media. She shows that televisual representations of race have belied the racial egalitarianism that allegedly pervades Puerto Ricoandrsquo;s national culture. White performers in blackface have often portrayed andldquo;blacknessandrdquo; in local television productions, while black actors have been largely excluded.
Drawing on interviews, participant observation, archival research, and textual analysis, Rivero considers representations of race in Puerto Rico, taking into account how they are intertwined with the islandandrsquo;s status as a U.S. commonwealth, its national culture, its relationship with Cuba before the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and the massive influx of Cuban migrants after 1960. She focuses on locally produced radio and television shows, particular television events, and characters that became popular media iconsandmdash;from the performer Ramandoacute;n Riveroandrsquo;s use of blackface and andldquo;blackandrdquo; voice in the 1940s and 1950s, to the battle between black actors and television industry officials over racism in the 1970s, to the creation, in the 1990s, of the first Puerto Rican situation comedy featuring a black family. As the twentieth century drew to a close, multinational corporations had purchased all Puerto Rican stations and threatened to wipe out locally produced programs. Tuning Out Blackness brings to the forefront the marginalization of nonwhite citizens in Puerto Ricoandrsquo;s media culture and raises important questions about the significance of local sites of television production.
A look at how blackness is represented in entertainment programming in Puerto Rico.
About the Author
Yeidy M. Rivero is Assistant Professor of Communication and Culture at Indiana University, Bloomington.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Translating Televisual andldquo;Blacknessandrdquo; 1
1. Caribbean Negritos: Ramon Rivero, Blackface, and Black Voice in Puerto Rico 22
2. Bringing the Soul: Afros, Black Empowerment, and the Resurgent Popularity of Blackface 67
3. The CubaRican Space Revisited 115
4. Mi familia: A Black Puerto Rican Televisual Family 147
5. Translating and Representing Blackness 185
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Arts and Entertainment » Film and Television » Media Studies