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African American Women And The Collective Psyche Of American Audiences Essay

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African American women have been purposefully written out of visual history with the exception of scripted roles that have been predetermined by stereotypical scripts that are imbedded in the collective psyche of American audiences beginning in the 1890s. Dorothy Dandridge was a sensational performer that commanded attention and left her audiences awestruck on screen and in life. At the age of eleven, I recall sitting in front of the television for a special televised movie, called “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.” The film opens with a somber score and voiceover of Dorothy (Halle Berry) asking the audience, “Have you ever caught sight of yourself by accident… And, you see yourself from the outside… That’s who you really are… That question captured my wondering eleven-year-old mind and immediately pulled me into the world of a woman who was familiar to me. She was familiar in her storytelling and questioning even before an image broke the continuity of credits on flashing on the screen. My mother has always loved mirrors. In one room there would be at least two mirrors suspended on the walls. I have caught many glimpses of myself over the years, so I knew exactly what she meant in asking the question. It’s a question that continues to be answered by Hollywood of black women, but without their input or consent. The question is why? On November 9, 1922 in Cleveland, Ohio a star was born, Ms. Dorothy Dandridge. Ms. Dandridge’s manager and close friend, Earl Mills recounts
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