Women and Mixed Race Representation in Film: Eight Star Profiles

McFarland. Sept. 2021. 292p. ISBN 9781476663388. pap. $39.95. FILM
This is an in-depth and fascinating study of the treatment of multiracial people in American society, as seen in the careers of the actresses Josephine Baker, Jennifer Beals, Halle Berry, Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Lonette McKee, Nina Mae McKinney, and Fredi Washington. Gilbert spent more than 15 years working on this book, and her extensive research is apparent on every page. Each actress profile combines a biographical sketch and a thorough and perceptive discussion of each woman’s career as it was influenced or directed by their race. Gilbert’s work goes far beyond a nuanced celebrity profile; she also offers a clear picture of the ever-changing nature of race and racism in the United States over the last 100 years. In the #MeToo era, as American society increasingly confronts the needs for social and cultural transparency and justice for the marginalized, works like these are important links to the history of American biases and prejudices along gender and racial lines.
VERDICT An excellent and thought-provoking look at racial representation on screen and in American society.
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