Its Black Entertainment
Vanessa Williams hosts Showtime’s feature length documentary about the contributions of African Americans in film over the last century. Split into six segments (Dancers, Divas, Rock and Soul, Jazz and Swing, Male Singers, Hip-Hop) many great black performers are featured, with experts discussing their influence on America’s culture. A myriad of stars, directors and notables express how they have benefited from early counterparts such as Josephine Baker, Cab Calloway, Lena Horne, Michael Jackson, Tina Turner, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Sammy Davis Jr. and many others. These performers struggled and triumphed over the obstacles of racism and limited opportunities, in order to make their presence known in the world of musicals and feature films. First aired 2/13/00 at 8:00p.m. (ET/PT) on Showtime.
(12+) A fascinating, well-produced look at some of the great Black artists who paved the way for today’s newcomers. My only objection is the exclusion of Ethel Waters and Harry Bellefonte, who each contributed immensely to movie music. (Someday, check out Ethel Waters singing “Happiness is a Thing Called Joe” in the film “Cabin In The Sky.”) The production is a bit of a tease, as we only hear snippets of the performers. But, it may encourage young people to seek out the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Lena Horne and so many others featured in this hour and a half presentation. Rapper Ice T is guilty of uttering the film’s one obscenity, but it is not a derogatory word aimed at someone. It is merely the way he expresses himself when describing what another artist can do.