This is a clip from the 1947 musical comedy film Copacabana. The clip is of a musical number by the film's star Carmen Miranda, a Brazilian singer, dancer and actress who was a celebrity in the 1930s-1950s. In addition to her talent as a performer, she was also known as a sex symbol, marketed as "exotic” and a stereotypical "Brazilian bombshell." Miranda's signature costume was a revealing dress and colorful "tutti-frutti" turban, a glamorized version of the traditional costume of poor Brazilian women of primarily African descent. Miranda first became a star in Brazil, and then in the United States, even performing at the White House. Her career was encouraged by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "Good Neighbor Policy," which sought to improve foreign relations between the United States and Latin America though cultural exchange rather than military intervention. However, as she became more popular in the United States, Miranda became less popular in Brazil. Some Brazilians felt that she was succumbing to American commercialism. Others, particularly the upper class, believed that she was representing Brazil negatively because her image appropriated from the most economically and racially marginalized groups within Brazilian society. In addition, Miranda often played characters from many Latin America countries, and some felt that this lead United States audiences to believe that all Latin American cultures were the same. In this clip, Miranda performs a high-energy version of the Brazilian song "Tico-Tico no Fubá" while other characters-- including her character's husband, played by comedian Groucho Marx-- look on and comment about her performance.
This 2004 satirical clip from the Chappelle Show begins with a discussion of arguments related to multiracial identity. "We have got to start arguing about who is what,” Chappelle says. “We need to settle this once and for all. We need to have a draft." Following the style of a draft for the NFL or NBA, one by one a representative from different racial and ethnic groups comes to the podium, selecting famous athletes, entertainers and other prominent social figures to “officially” be a part of their racial group. Among the picks, Tiger Woods is claimed by African Americans, Lenny Kravitz by Jews, and the Wu Tang Clan by the Asian delegation.
“Dear Young Man of Color” is a spoken word piece written and performed by poet Fong Tran that takes the form of a letter to young men of color, addressing systemic, institutional, interpersonal, internalized, and intersectional racial, gender, and class oppression. Speaking from the center of a group of young men of color standing with and framing him, Tran covers topics such as the criminalization of black and brown bodies, the impact of African American, Latino, Asian, and class stereotypes, cultural appropriation, intersectional race, class, and gender oppression, colonization, immigration, the school to prison pipeline, police brutality, and resiliency and activism against oppression. The text of his original poem can be found here.
Do The Right Thing is a highly controversial 1989 film, written and directed by Spike Lee, about a Brooklyn neighborhood gripped by racial tension. In this scene, two of the film's main characters, Pino and Mookie have a candid conversation about race and racism. Mookie points out Pino's hypocrisy: he is racist, but many of his heroes happen to be African-Americcan. As their conversation gets heated, the director takes the audience outside of the scene in the pizza parlor and outside of the story by inserting a series of characters--all different races--yelling racial stereotypes and epithets directly into the camera. The scene ends when the local DJ calls for everyone to take a time out.
Down for Life is a 2010 feature film directed by Alan Jacobs. The film follows Rascal, a Latina high school student enmeshed in Los Angeles gang life. The central conflict in the story concerns Rascal's future. As a gifted writer, Rascal has opportunities to leave Los Angeles but her neighborhood friends are pressuring her to stay. In the trailer, we see clips of Rascal in fights, being pursued by police, being chastised by her teachers not to squander her opportunities, and being threatened by fellow gang members not to leave. The connection to earlier films about young people of color struggling through poverty are made clear by titles that read, "A cross between Precious...and Boyz in the Hood." Rascal and her friends use the phrase "down for life" in multiple different contexts throughout the trailer: to affirm their friendships, the commitment to the gang, their lives in the neighborhood, and an inflexible set of values.