Book Corner Entertainment

BOOK CORNER: Author chronicles evolving African-American film image

“Hollywood Black, The Stars, The Films, The Filmmakers” is Donald Bogle’s ninth book about the role blacks have played in U.S. pop culture since his groundbreaking 1973 “Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks.”

The 269-page “Hollywood Black” opens with a foreword by director John Singleton.

The Manhattan-based Bogle said: “‘Hollywood Black’ looks at the full range or arc of African-American movie history. It goes from the early years of the 20th century and comes into the new millennium. It goes from the days of ‘Birth of a Nation’, a racist [1915] silent film, on through the arrival of sound, when more African-American actors and actresses got a chance to work in the movies, but often playing stereotyped roles, in the late 1920s and especially the 1930s and early ’40s.”

The film historian, who teaches at New York University and the University of Pennsylvania, added: “It follows through with changes that come about with the rise of the civil rights movement, in the ’50s and ’60s, with such stars as Dorothy Dandridge and Sidney Poitier.

“It goes through the Blaxploitation era, and black filmmakers working at that time — Melvin Van Peebles, Gordon Parks Sr. and Gordon Parks Jr. And it comes right up to our current era to black filmmakers like Jordan Peele, who gave us ‘Get Out’; Ryan Coogler, who has given us ‘Black Panther’; Ava DuVernay, who has given us ‘Selma’ – and of course, Spike Lee, who seems to be reinvigorated with ‘BlacKkKlansman.’ It covers lots of territory.”

Bogle explained how “Hollywood Black” differs from his eight other books: “It makes use of striking photographs. I hunted for photographs that either hadn’t been published before or were rarely published. All of my books have been well-illustrated with images. But ‘Hollywood Black’ has more, and I have color images for the first time.”

Bogle has been a programmer and host for the vintage film channel TCM, plus a presenter at its annual TCM Classic Film Festivals in Hollywood.

“Hollywood Black” analyzes, interprets, chronicles, critiques and celebrates the African American screen image’s evolution from silent cinema to today, with Bogle insisting: “Right now we’re in a very exciting period with Black filmmakers.”

“Hollywood Black” is a TCM book published by Running Press, available for $26.95 at:

L.A.-based film historian/critic Ed Rampell co-authored “The Hawaii Movie and Television Book.”