In 1950s Massachusetts, a wealthy black woman engaged to a poor white beatnik learns about her family history. The stories revolve around the racial and class complexities of interracial and class-based marriages.
A plantation owner's son falls in love with a slave named Easter and together they have a Mixed race daughter named Queen. As Queen grows up, she faces the struggle of trying to fit into ... See full summary »
This biography of Dorothy Dandridge follows her career through early days on the club circuit with her sister to her turn in movies, including becoming the first black actress to win a Best... See full summary »
Klaus Maria Brandauer
A drama set in the 1920s, where free-spirited Janie Crawford's search for happiness leads her through several different marriages, challenging the morals of her small town. Based on the novel by Zora Neale Hurston.
A rich man's wife goes on a trip to a cabin with her husband. He's preoccupied with business and leaves early. A man she meets offers to kill her husband. He's crazy and she leaves. He later tracks down the couple.
Amy Holden Jones
Born poor in St. Louis, Missouri, Josephine Baker achieved fame and fortune through her sizzlingly exotic, erotic performances. Starting life on the American Vaudeville circuit, success ... See full summary »
Shelby Coles is engaged to marry talented white jazz musician Meade Howell, but the pair face opposition from both Meade's family, who object to an inter-racial marriage, and Shelby's parents, who want her to marry a professional. As Shelby is afflicted by premarital doubts, handsome Lute McNeil arrives on the scene, determined to make Shelby his at any cost.
Obviously we all compare ourselves with others to some degree even though it is not a praiseworthy activity, however I had never considered the extent to which class-ism probably wrecked relationships amongst Black families in the early 20th century.
Yes the story was perhaps too fanciful with just about every relationship portrayed, affected by the same issue but it sure does expose the issue as I had never considered it before.
It is interesting to read that Dorothy West had the book, 30 years in the making. I wonder how it would have been received if it had been completed prior to the beginnings of the racial revolution in the sixties with Dr Martin Luther King etc.
Somehow the whole thing seemed a bit "wooden" in delivery but nonetheless as it tackled a subject that I suspect has been unconsidered by most, it was worthwhile doing and not surprisingly needed the backing of Oprah Winfrey to see the light of day.
It put me somewhat in mind of the trans racial issues as presented in the musical Showboat which I would recommend to anyone who wants to explore these issues in a more subtle and tuneful production.
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