From Blackface to Blaxploitation: Representations of African Americans in Film
While the portrayals of Blacks by White actors in blackface provided limited and highly stereotypical African American roles and characters in mainstream films, the “all-colored cast” films purposefully showcased positive depictions of African Americans. These “race films” were produced for the segregated Black theaters across the country. In The Green-Eyed Monster (1919) and By Right of Birth (1921), the leading roles included bankers and businessmen. “Race films” also showcased Black actors as protagonists in western, dramatic, and romantic features. These films were created for and marketed to African American audiences.