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Black Headline News to honor Black History Month starting this weekend through 'A Historical Timeline Review of Black Films in America' tribute

With some Black films lost through the passage of time, thanks to the Black press, there are still historical records of these significant moments in history


By Black Headline News

Throughout American history, Black entertainers have had a strong influence on the entertainment industry; ironically the initial beginnings of the film industry in the early 1900s proved to push stereotypical depictions of the Black caricature--without remorse.

Stereotypes of Black people have been wrongly portrayed in film since the early 1900s through racist films such as The Birth of a Nation, originally called The Clansman, a 1915 American silent epic drama film directed by D. W. Griffith. It was this film that angered many Black people across the nation when it first came out; this film was said to encourage the restoration of the reformed Ku Klux Klan (KKK,) "the first organized terror movement in American history." They were known for their signature look and methods for creating fear, dressed in pointy, hooded, white robes, burning flaming crosses in Black peoples' yards mostly at night, and sometimes in the day. In fact, millions of white people joined the KKK cause by the 1920s due to the influence of The Birth of a Nation film.


Hence the Black press, scholars and filmmakers set out to change the narrative of the negative stereotypes of Black people portrayed in film by taking the industry into their own hands-- it was an uphill battle in Jim Crow America, who was relentless with its ideals of "separate" and "unequal." But luckily there is some remanence of a historical record to talk about the beginning of Black film.

Although 80% of Black films from the silent era are gone, it is because of the archives of Black newspapers from that era are we able to get a glimpse of a historical record of these once-alive Black filmmakers, Black directors, and Black actors.  We can aspire to a working understanding of the genre's titles, filmmakers, studios, and so on from the surviving record—African American newspapers and periodicals, mainly.


Join Black Headline News in "A Historical Timeline Review of Black Films in America," as we explore the beginning era of Black film, starting with race films (part 1), all the way to Blaxploitation (part 2). See excerpts and full movies from the silent film eras through the talkies.


People can watch the special, "A Historical Timeline Review of Black Films in America," on GFN TV or listen on BHN Radio starting Saturday, February 10, 2024, at 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM with encore broadcasts on Sundays at 7:00 AM & 7:00 PM. People can watch Part 2 of this special starting the following weekend, February 17 at the same times, with encore broadcast of part 1 throughout the month.

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