Dr. Artel Great is the George & Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in African American Cinema Studies at San Francisco State University. His scholarly work delves into the intellectual history, critical discourse, and aesthetics of Black cinema and visual culture. (Read more about Dr. Great here.) His piece in The New Republic, below, highlights the visionary efforts and extraordinary diversity of Black cinema long before the rise of Hollywood.
Black Cinema Matters
Professor Artel Great's essay, excerpted from The New Republic: “Throughout its roughly 125-year history, Black cinema has served as an avenue for creative expression, cultural affirmation, and a reimagining of what freedom really means. It has also forecast, critiqued, and documented the social changes we now see unfolding. Since the very inception of moving pictures, Black directors have occupied a paradoxical role in American cultural history: They have represented an artistic vanguard, introducing innovations in aesthetic sensibilities and production practices, while remaining perpetually on the outside looking in. The truth is, Black artists helped build the American film industry—and it’s finally time for a widespread recognition of that legacy.”