Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Sultry Seductresses of the Silver-Screen

While the 1950's would prove as a turning point in not only race relations, but the political discourse in regards to civil rights as well. The civil rights movement would be kicked into high gear by the Montgomery bus boycott, the formation of organizations such as the Southern Cristian Leadership Conference and the supreme court decision to desegregate schools in Brown vs. Board of Education.

While all this was going on, Hollywood was setting its sights and tuning into a provocative new sound. Black actresses had long been type-cast into the role of the mammy or maid, or supporting roles in which they were shadowing their white counterparts. However in 1954, Hollywood would see a new leading lady in Academy award nominated Dorothy Dandridge. Of course given the racial tensions and turmoil engulfing the United States would not allow for her to actually win the award, but she set in motion a new age of leading ladies. 

Playing the role of Carmen in the film Carmen Jones would shoot Dorothy Dandridge to stardom, however despite bringing about success in her career, she would unwittingly take part in shaping the views of Black womens' bodies and sexuality for years to come.

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