Straight Outta Washington: The Black Filmmaking Renaissance and the Obama Era

Hagan, Teresa (2022) Straight Outta Washington: The Black Filmmaking Renaissance and the Obama Era. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis proposes that in the wake of President Obama’s election victory, a new and distinct Black filmmaking renaissance emerged, with multiple Black directors producing films which primarily centre the lives, experiences and history of Black America, present and past, expressly telling those stories through the lens of African American characters. While the term ‘radical’ is rarely associated with the multi-billion dollar Hollywood industry, many Black filmmakers working in this way are, at the very least, producing art that works to shift the power dynamics in race-representational cultural politics in the industry – thus, in many ways, challenging the centrality of traditional Hollywood output, i.e. films which privilege Whiteness and a white-centred gaze. This thesis demonstrates that this is a socio/political/cultural act of resistance, and that these works amount to political cinema, in the face of the marginalisation of African Americans within not just mainstream cinema but mainstream politics. Hollywood has long placed white people at the centre its mass cultural product, something which also mirrors the political and social hegemony in America which has historically assigned Blackness itself to the margins. I excavate how these filmmakers recentre Blackness in an act of resistance, and further excavate how the films more widely contain themes of resistance. I also examine how these films dialogue with contemporary discourses, and seek to intervene in national narratives of identity.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Art, Media and American Studies
Depositing User: Kitty Laine
Date Deposited: 24 May 2023 11:45
Last Modified: 24 May 2023 11:45

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