Critical Writing Index

Be black and buy

by Ed Guerrero

Sight and Sound, Dec. 2000, v. 10, no. 12, pp. 34-37

Author Ed Guerrero marks the release of Spike Lee's The Original Kings of Comedy by describing how the spending power of African-American audiences enabled a new 'black wave' within the cinema and entertainment industries in the 1990s, with films such as Friday, Waiting to Exhale, Do the Right Thing, Boyz N the Hood and The Best Man, filmmakers such as Spike Lee, John Singleton, and Forest Whitaker, and actors, singers, rap artists and entertainers such as Denzel Washington, Taye Diggs, Queen Latifah, Vanessa Williams, Ice-T, Ice Cube, Halle Berry, Quincy Jones, Samuel L. Jackson, and Angela Bassett.

Guerreo outlines a fundamental paradigm shift with this movement toward the mainstream: that the sense of a monolithic, separate black audience fueled by a single identity no longer applies in the same way as African-Americans now recognize themselves as part of a much more complex, heterogeneous, new world social formation, even if still as an oppressed group, where independent black filmmakers fall in the new paradigm, and how they use it.

ITEM 2000.138 – available for viewing in the Research Centre

Videos, Artworks and Artists Cited

The Railroad PorterWilliam Foster

The Scar of ShameFrank Peregini

The Blood of JesusSpencer Williams

I Got the Hook upMichael Martin

Chameleon StreetWendell Harris

Alma's RainbowAyoka Chenzira

ShaftGordon Parks

Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss SongMevin Van Peebles

Bush MamaHailé Gerima

SankofaHailé Gerima

Bless Their Little HeartsBilly Woodberry

To Sleep with AngerCharles Burnett

Daughters of the DustJulie Dash