Film: The Role Of African Americans In Film

1165 Words 5 Pages
Many people know about African Americans in the film industry, but not many know about the path they had to take to get there. African American films have always played a significant role in my family. We loved to see films that make us laugh, but also ones that revealed more about the history of our race, especially since my distant cousin Pearl Bailey starred in many of those motion pictures. The fact that my cousin worked in film during a time that African Americans were looked down upon in the film industry inspired me to want to pursue a career in film. Being a filmmaker and African American, I found it very important to discover the history of African Americans in film and even some things that they may be going through now in the film industry. The role of African Americans is significant in the film industry, but also very important because it changed the industry altogether.
During 1910, white people would dress up in blackface in order to depict an African American character in their films. African Americans were portrayed as very stereotypical characters in early 20th century films. They would get roles as butlers or other helpers around the house, those were considered the best roles for blacks. Even though they were bigger roles, they still required them to play a servant.
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During the late 1940’s, however, was a big transformation in the African American film industry. African Americans were given more recognition because of the NAACP being involved in Hollywood. Some officials from the NAACP told representatives to give African Americans better roles in films rather than having the stereotypical ones. They were also given behind the scene opportunities which helped black filmmakers to really branch out in the film industry. Production companies began to involve well-known black actors and entertainers in their films and created all-black

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