Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|In Concert Series Dorothy Dandridge|
Actor: Dorothy Dandridge
Genres: Music Video & Concerts
The In Concert series brings you extraordinary vocalists such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin, in rare, vintage, live performances of their greatest songs, newly remastered fo... more »
Good for Nostalgia Only
Jeffery Mingo | Homewood, IL USA | 08/23/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"First things first, this disc has the documentary "Dorothy Dandridge: An American Beauty" on it. Here I rented two discs, when I only needed one.
About a decade ago, I saw a video cassette of Josephine Baker performances at a video store. I was delighted that living people could actually see her perform and not just hear about it from others. Lynn Whitfield did a wonderful job portraying her in a biopic, but it was great to see the real person. The same applies here. Most people my age and younger have not seen Ms. Dandridge in anything besides "Carmen Jones." This is a great opportunity for the youngsters. Of course, Halle portrayed her brilliantly, but it is still great to see the real woman in action.
But having said that, this work is filled with all the racism of her era and it was a bit difficult to watch as an African American. Black dancers are seen grinning and bugging out their eyes and sticking out their lips. The performers did all the actions that Robert Townsend tried to critique in his "Hollywood Shuffle." I don't want to use potty mouth here, but there is a word that rhymes with spoon and loon that describes this carrying-on. In fairness, Black artists of the time were only given such demeaning roles. Still, it's not easy to see directly.
And here's another thing. In "The Same River Twice," Alice Walker wrote that being a dark-skinned woman was not seen as a bad thing until television and film came around. She said that is why she was happy that a dark-skinned actress was chosen to play Shug Avery in her film. In these vignettes from the past, Black men were of various hues, but all the Black women were light-skinned. This work painfully shows how the beauty and talent of dark-skinned women was ignored during this oppressive era."