vol. 5 No. 1 June 2021

Black "Crime," Public Hysteria, and the Cinema of Containment: Black Cinema Aesthetics from Willie Dynamite to The Interrupters and a/k/a Mrs. George Gilbert
Author:Amy Abugo Ongiri    Time:2021-09-22    Click:

Black “Crime,” Public Hysteria, and the Cinema of Containment: Black Cinema Aesthetics from Willie Dynamite to The Interrupters and a/k/a Mrs. George Gilbert

Amy Abugo Ongiri

Page 026-042


Abstract: This essay will explore the ways in which African American visual culture has attempted to negotiate criminalization and the current situation of what Richard Iton rightfully characterizes as “hyperincarceration.” It will explore the ways in which contemporary African American visual culture is engaged in negotiating between the literal material realities and consequences of mass incarceration and aesthetic constructions of violence. While mass incarceration is increasingly becoming understood as “the New Jim Crow” for African American political organizing, Black criminality has become the key lens through which questions of masculinity, class exclusion, gender, and selfhood get negotiated in African American visual culture. This essay will argue that the “subtext of ongoing Black captivity” is the pretext for much of what drives Black action genres and African American representation in general as a key signifier of a racialized identity and as an indicator of a Black subjectivity fraught with complexities of non-belonging.

Keywords: African American Cinema, Mass Incarceration, Black Subjectivity, Masculinity, Action Cinema, Black Aesthetics


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