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re: According to Wikipedia???????
Posted by: BroadwayTonyJ 02:46 pm EDT 10/18/21
In reply to: re: According to Wikipedia??????? - Chromolume 08:56 pm EDT 10/17/21

Here's the Merriam-Webster definition of blackface: "dark makeup worn to mimic the appearance of a Black person and especially to mock or ridicule Black people".

I was born in '48 and grew up in the 50's and 60's and was exposed to blackface in movies at an early age so I was never shocked or outraged by it. I understood how it originated, how our culture evolved, and that what was entertaining in the 30's and 40's was no longer acceptable in the 50's and after that.

I agree about Wikipedia and only quoted it because it's something that everyone knows and has access to. Until I began posting on ATC in '97, I didn't really think about blackface all that much. In films and theatre for the most part it no longer existed except when used satirically.

Even today, the TCM documentary hosted by Jacqueline Stewart does not mention either the '52 Welles or '65 Olivier as examples of blackface. I've seen both versions on TCM over the last decade and neither Osbourne nor Mankiewicz used the term blackface regarding the portrayals. In fact until the Sheng situation I don't think I ever heard either film mentioned in any discussion about films that use blackface.

The Wikipedia article subtitled "20th century" names prominent actors who have appeared in blackface -- the list does not include Laurence Olivier. It mentions Orson Welles, but only for Voodoo Macbeth and not for Othello.

How widespread is the opinion that the Olivier and Welles versions are examples of blackface? Is this just in certain theatre and educational circles? I'm not trying to be a smart-ass. I just want to become more knowledgeable about the current usage of the term.
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