(BLACK PR WIRE) – There are many African American filmmakers today that are taking on Hollywood and flipping the script to get the job done. What is the job, exactly? To produce something that not only caters to African Americans, but that also changes Hollywood’s traditional perception and portrayal of Blacks in film.
According to www.africanamericans.com, a younger generation of black filmmakers are emerging from key academic institutions including the film schools of University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Southern California, New York University (NYU), and from historically black schools such as Howard University. These schools have variously embraced Van Peebles, Micheaux, and African filmmakers such as Ousmane Sembne of Senegal as their cultural models.
Spike Lee, an NYU alumnus, is probably the best known of the black filmmakers during the 1980s and 1990s. He was successful in attracting large audiences for almost everything he produced – from film school exercises, to credit-card-financed early efforts such as She's Gotta Have It (1986), to television commercials and promotional pieces. He also directed a string of Hollywood successes, including one of the most politically challenging and commercially successful films of the new black cinema, Do the Right Thing (1989). Oh, but let’s not forget Malcolm X, a favorite among African American moviegoers.
Today, Spike Lee has been joined by John Singleton, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Anthony Fuqua, and many other Black filmmakers. The good news is that as black filmmakers have become more prolific, black actors in Hollywood have been getting steady, rather than sporadic work. By the late 1990s, the steadily expanding black presence in American film seemed to assure a solid future for the new black cinema.
We would be remiss if we didn’t give thanks to the formation of organizations such as the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC), which was formed in 1996. This organization, along with its predecessors and followers, has helped Black cinema to prosper. As a non-profit organization designed to advocate, educate, research, develop and preserve the history, as well as the future of Blacks in film and television, the BHERC helps produce and fund diverse film and theater projects.
If one thing is certain, Black filmmakers will remain committed to taking on Hollywood and flipping the script to create a Hollywood experience that embraces African American culture and our rich history and traditions.