movies and film

Since its founding, the film industry has perpetuated racist stereotypes and practices, all rooting from the first recognized major motion picture ‘Birth of a Nation,’ which told an overtly racist narrative of the Civil War and the development of the KKK during Reconstruction to promote the "Lost Cause" myth of the Confederacy. These practices were put into official Hollywood operations with the passing of the Hays Code, limiting the types of roles actors of color could play. However, as the industry changed over time, we began to see change- with the abandonment of the Code and rise of Black independent filmmakers in the late 80s , more Black actors appeared on screen. There has been a second resurgence to an extent recently as well, with black filmmakers breaking into mainstream Hollywood film more often after emerging from the independent circuit. Though to this day, we continue to see largely white casts and underdeveloped Black roles.  Positive and non-tokenized representation of Black people in film and TV is not only important for challenging the history of the medium and the prejudices it has encouraged (we still have a long ways to go), but it is imperative for Black viewership, which in turn affects how black people see themselves as human beings.