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California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS)
1453 Mission St, San Francisco, California 94103
«Ethnic Notions is Marlon Riggs' Emmy-winning documentary that takes viewers on a disturbing voyage through American history, tracing for the first time the deep-rooted stereotypes which have fueled anti-black prejudice. Through these images we can begin to understand the evolution of racial consciousness in America.
Loyal Toms, carefree Sambos, faithful Mammies, grinning Coons, savage Brutes, and wide-eyed Pickaninnies roll across the screen in cartoons, feature films, popular songs, minstrel shows, advertisements, folklore, household artifacts, even children's rhymes. These dehumanizing caricatures permeated popular culture from the 1820s to the Civil Rights period and implanted themselves deep in the American psyche.»
— CALIFORNIA NEWSREEL
I first watched this documentary in 1994. This was long before I ever called myself «artist» or imagined that I would write and perform my own solo plays. This documentary contextualizes the dances, songs and caricatures that many people have grown to detest. Performing «blackness» begins here. I believe that viewing this work is essential for all black artists. Before we can truly comprehend our own performance work it is necessary to come to terms with «black face.» This was our country's first form of popular entertainment. Before the telephone, television or even the radio. The country fell in love with the way African American's were portrayed, first by white minstrels and then my black men and woman who became their own satire's imitators.
I hope you will join us for this screening of Ethnic Notions. Feel free to bring friends and come prepared to share your thoughts and experiences.
On June 16th, I will be presenting Nigga-Roo in its entirety at The Flight Deck in Oakland. This work cannot be fully realized unless we as a community are clear on where we are and how we got here. I Look forward to see all who are interested.
BE SURE & RSVP!!! I will provide food and other beverages.