Campus News

Book examines race in US film industry

In The Hollywood Jim Crow, released Feb. 5, Maryann Erigha looks at the practices and biases that limit the production and circulation of movies directed by racial minorities. 

She examines more than 1,300 contemporary films, specifically focusing on directors, to show the key elements at work in maintaining “the Hollywood Jim Crow.” 

An assistant professor of sociology and African American studies in UGA’s Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, Erigha exposes the key elements at work in maintaining Hollywood’s racial hierarchy, namely the relationship between genre and race, the ghettoization of black directors to black films and how blackness is perceived by the Hollywood producers and studios who decide what gets made and who gets to make it. 

Erigha questions the notion that increased representation of African Americans behind the camera is the sole answer to the racial inequality gap. Instead, she suggests focusing on the obstacles to integration for African American film directors.