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Posted December 9, 2008
Well worth reading
In 1874 Bert Williams was born in the Bahamas, but over a decade later his family relocated to Southern California. Bert performed on stage, but got nowhere as black American roles were limited. However, early in the twentieth century, he became the first black entertainment superstar over the objections of family and friends as they felt strongly he abased himself and the race when he donned blackface paint to play the stereotypical role of a blundering idiot. The white paying audience loved him though he knew he was performing they thought he was himself................... In DANCING IN THE DARK, Caryl Phillips goes behind the scenes to provide a close look Williams playing the ¿coon¿ fool alongside his also black Vaudeville partner George Walker. The author shows the psychological effect on the talented but seemingly melancholy superstar by fictionalizing the inner demons and pressures of black American society on Bert Williams and his weird relationship with his white fans. This excellent biographical fiction cleverly places a deep lens on historical racism in comparison to the black identity movements of the 1920s while also enabling the audience to reflect on today¿s entertainment race relations............... Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 9, 2012
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