High Yellow

Nahed Mansour

2010, 04:50 minutes, colour, English

TAPECODE 1056.04

High Yellow draws attention to forms of mimicry through dance, costume, voice, and gestures. The video weaves together four characters: the artist, Savion Glover, Shirley Temple, and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, to explore the relationship between the figure of the tap-dancer and the negotiation of racial identities in popular entertainment.

Using home video footage of the artist performing a depoliticized rendition of the off-Broadway tap-musical
Bring in the Noise, Bring in the Funk, Mansour splices her own performance with scenes from the on-screen relationship between Temple and Bojangles during the 1930’s. She thus addresses directly the practice of racial mimicry embedded in minstrel culture by including excerpts of an interview with Glover – the star and co-creator of the original musical – who critiques the early racist on-screen history of American cinema.

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