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Colorization by Will Haygood

Hardcover – Knopf – Oct 2021 – 452 pages

Beginning in 1915 with D.W. Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation–which glorified the Ku Klux Klan and became Hollywood’s first blockbuster–Wil Haygood gives us an incisive, fascinating, little-known history, spanning more than a century, of Black artists in the film business, onscreen and behind the scenes. He makes clear the effects of changing social realities and events on the business of making movies and on what was represented on the screen: from Jim Crow and segregation to white flight and interracial relationships, from the assassination of Malcolm X to the O.J. Simpson trial to the Black Lives Matter movement. He considers the films themselves–including The Imitation of Life, Gone With the Wind, Porgy & Bess, the Blaxploitation films of the 70s, Do The Right Thing, 12 Years a Slave, and Black Panther. And he brings to new light the careers and significance of a wide range of historic and contemporary figures: Hattie McDaniel, Sidney Poitier, Berry Gordy, Alex Haley, Spike Lee, Billy Dee Willliams, Richard Pryor, Halle Berry, Ava Duvernay, and Jordan Peele, among many others. An important, timely book, Colorization gives us both an unprecedented history of Black cinema, and a groundbreaking perspective on racism in modern America


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