Black Representations of Settlement on Film: Thomasine and Bushrod | Beenash Jafri - artsocial.info
Here's the clincher-- Thomasine and Bushrod steal from rich, white it with two fun characters working their way through their relationship while robbing banks. characters are introduced in the last third and the ending is seen a mile away. Gordon Parks Junior's Thomasine and Bushrod () came to a tragic end on The story of Thomasine and Bushrod begins with Max Julien, a writer . to capitalize on the real life relationship between Julien and McGee. Thomasine and Bushrod spend less time as folk hero bank robbers than they do framework to throw light on a relationship almost everyone in the audience is characters are introduced in the last third and the ending is seen a mile away.
When the filmmakers noticed Mabel Cavitt, a school teacher, among the people gathered 2. Robin Hood — Robin Hood is a heroic outlaw in English folklore who, according to legend, was a highly skilled archer and swordsman. Traditionally depicted as being dressed in Lincoln green, he is portrayed as robbing from the rich. Robin Hood became a folk figure in the late-medieval period.
Little John, Much the Millers Son and Will Scarlet all appear and this view first gained currency in the 16th century. It is not supported by the earliest ballads, the early compilation, A Gest of Robyn Hode, names the king as Edward, and while it does show Robin Hood accepting the Kings pardon, he later repudiates it and returns to the greenwood.
The oldest surviving ballad, Robin Hood and the Monk, gives even less support to the picture of Robin Hood as a partisan of the true king. The setting of the early ballads is usually attributed by scholars to either the 13th century or the 14th, the early ballads are also quite clear on Robin Hoods social status, he is a yeoman. While the precise meaning of this changed over time, including free retainers of an aristocrat and small landholders.
The essence of it in the present context was neither a knight nor a peasant or husbonde, artisans were among those regarded as yeomen in the 14th century. As well as ballads, the legend was also transmitted by Robin Hood games or plays that were an important part of the late medieval and early modern May Day festivities.
The first record of a Robin Hood game was in in Exeter, the Robin Hood games are known to have flourished in the later 15th and 16th centuries.
It is commonly stated as fact that Maid Marian and a jolly friar entered the legend through the May Games, the earliest surviving text of a Robin Hood ballad is the 15th century Robin Hood and the Monk. This is preserved in Cambridge University manuscript Ff. The first printed version is A Gest of Robyn Hode, a collection of stories that attempts to unite the episodes into a single continuous narrative.
After this comes Robin Hood and the Potter, contained in a manuscript of c, the Potter is markedly different in tone from The Monk, whereas the earlier tale is a thriller the latter is more comic, its plot involving trickery and cunning rather than straightforward force.
Other early texts are dramatic pieces, the earliest being the fragmentary Robyn Hod, each of these three ballads survived in a single copy, so it is unclear how much of the medieval legend has survived, and what has survived may not be typical of the medieval legend. The story of Robins aid to the knight that takes up much of the Gest may be an example.
The character of Robin in these first texts is rougher edged than in his later incarnations, of my good he shall haue some, Yf he be a por man 3. It adopted the Columbia Pictures name inand went public two years later and its name is derived from Columbia, a national personification of the United States, which is used as the studios logo. In its early years, it was a player in Hollywood.
With Capra and others, Columbia became one of the homes of the screwball comedy. In the s, Columbias major contract stars were Jean Arthur, in the s, Rita Hayworth became the studios premier star and propelled their fortunes into the late s. Five years later, Coca-Cola spun off Columbia, which was sold to Tri-Star, after a brief period of independence with Coca-Cola maintaining a financial interest, the combined studio was acquired by Sony in It is one of the film studios in the world.
Brandt eventually tired of dealing with the Cohn brothers, and sold his stake to Harry Cohn. In an effort to improve its image, the Cohn brothers renamed the company Columbia Pictures Corporation on January 10, Cohn remained head of production as well, thus concentrating enormous power in his hands. He would run Columbia for the next 34 years, the second-longest tenure of any studio chief, even in an industry rife with nepotism, Columbia was particularly notorious for having a number of Harry and Jacks relatives in high positions.
Humorist Robert Benchley called it the Pine Tree Studio, because it has so many Cohns, Columbias product line consisted mostly of moderately budgeted features and short subjects including comedies, sports films, various serials, and cartoons.
Columbia gradually moved into the production of higher-budget fare, eventually joining the tier of Hollywood studios along with United Artists. Like United Artists and Universal, Columbia was an integrated company. It controlled production and distribution, it did not own any theaters, helping Columbias climb was the arrival of an ambitious director, Frank Capra 4.
Arthur Lee musician — Arthur Taylor Lee was an American singer-songwriter who rose to fame as the frontman of the Los Angeles rock band Love, widely recognized as one of the most influential pop groups of the sixties.
As an only child, Lee was known by the nickname Po, short for Porter, with his father being his first connection with a musician, Lee was fascinated by music at young age. He would sing and hum along to blues musicians such as Howlin Wolf, at the age of four, Lee made his debut on the stage at a Baptist church, reciting a small poem about a red telephone.
In the early s, his parents separated as his father refused or neglected to provide for her, Lee only remembered seeing his father three times during his entire life. Subsequently, Lee and his mother packed their things and took a train to California, Lee and his mother resided in Los Angeles permanently in Intheir divorce was granted and his mother married Clinton Lee, Lee was formally adopted by Clinton Lee on June 6, legally acquiring his surname, after filing for an adoption notice in His mother was able to resume her career, enabling the family to buy a new home in the West Adams area of South Central Los Angeles.
Attending the same schools as Lee, the neighbourhood was home to Johnny Echols. Lee attended Sixth Avenue Elementary School and excelled in athletics but was behind academically, Lee later attended Mount Vernon Junior High, where his interest in music would soon outweigh his focus on sports.
Lees first musical instrument was the accordion, which he took lessons in from a teacher and he adapted to reading music and developed a good ear and natural musical intelligence. While he was never formally taught about musical theory and composition, he was able to mimic musicians from records, eventually, he persuaded his parents to buy him an organ and harmonica.
His plan of forming a band was under the influence of Johnny Echols and his first known recording is from My Diary is the first Lee composition that came near to being a hit and it was written when Arthur was a teenager, about his teenage sweetheart Anita Billings. Juanita Moore — Juanita Moore was an American film, television, and stage actress. Her family moved in the Great Migration to Los Angeles, where she was raised, Moore first performed as a dancer, part of a chorus girl at the Cotton Club before becoming a film extra while working in theater.
After making her debut in Pinky, Moore had a number of bit parts. ER and Judging Amy. Moore and Kohner received standing ovations, Moore was married for 50 years to Charles Burris, who died in He was a Los Angeles bus driver and, although she was a frequent passenger, they met when she stepped out in front of his approaching bus. She and Burris married a few weeks later, Moore died at her home in Los Angeles on January 1, from natural causes.
She enrolled at San Francisco State University and became involved in acting groups on campus and she later became well known for her parts in the Blaxploitation films Melinda and Hammer.
McGee was in a relationship with Max Julien during the early-to-mid s. Blaxploitation — Blaxploitation or blacksploitation is an ethnic subgenre of the exploitation film, emerging in the United States during the early s. Blaxploitation films were made specifically for an urban black audience.
Everybody’s Into Weirdness: THOMASINE & BUSHROD (1974)
The Los Angeles National Association for the Advancement of Colored People head and ex-film publicist Junius Griffin coined the term from the words black, Blaxploitation films were the first to regularly feature soundtracks of funk and soul music and primarily black casts. Variety credited Sweet Sweetbacks Baadasssss Song and the less radical Hollywood-financed film Shaft with the invention of the blaxploitation genre, when set in the Northeast or West Coast, blaxploitation films are mainly set in poor urban neighborhoods.
Terms used against white characters, such as crackers and honky, are common plot, Blaxploitation films set in the South often deal with slavery and miscegenation. These soundtracks are notable for a degree of complexity that was not common to the radio-friendly funk tracks of the s and they also featured a rich orchestration which included instruments such as flutes and violins, which were used in funk or soul music of the era. The genres role in exploring and shaping race relations in the US has been controversial, some held that the Blaxploitation trend was a token of black empowerment, but others accused the movies of perpetuating common white stereotypes about black people.
Their influence in the late s contributed to the genres demise, the story world also depicts the plantation as one of the main origins of boxing as a sport in the U. In the late s and early s, a new wave of acclaimed filmmakers, particularly Spike Lee. These directors made use of Blaxploitation elements while incorporating implicit criticism of the glorification of stereotypical criminal behavior.
Blaxploitation films have had an enormous and complicated influence on American cinema, filmmaker and exploitation film fan Quentin Tarantino, for example, has made numerous references to the Blaxploitation genre in his films. An early blaxploitation tribute can be seen in the character of Lite, played by Sy Richardson, Richardson later wrote Posse, which is a kind of blaxploitation Western. Settlement in the Western who are on the run from the law— represented by their neme- appears in the form of stories and visual depictions of the sis, corrupt U.
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Individual Westerns cap- whom they share their earnings. By the conclusion of the film, ture distinct aspects of the establishment of a settler society: Directed by Gordon Parks, Jr. Columbia Studios pro- establishing social order, including anxieties about repro- duced and distributed the film. This echoes mythical Indian: Settling is not equivalent to migrating Veracini, into ethnoracial groups render Indigenous claims to landp.
Settling refers to putting in place institutions to and resources incommensurable, as treaties are only formed support the establishment of a white settler society and between nations. Interpreting the Western in terms of its nation. As a process of nation-building, it involves the representations of settlement, rather than of bodies, shifts sociocultural regulation of bodies, relationships, space, focus onto colonization and provides a context for under- land, and natural resources.
Guiding my analysis is the question: If, in the Hollywood Western, set- Morrill state, tlement is represented through narrative and visual depictions of land acquisition, the transformation of land. They cannot legit- imately acquire or purchase property, nor can they reap the Indigenous feminist and queer scholarship has documented social privileges of marriage.
As Joy James argues, the effects of this naturalization within Native nations, in the fugitive states of Maroons and contemporary Black reb- terms of the ways that settler power has regulated Indigeneity els and resisters are productive sites for imagining freedom through race, gender, and sexuality.
For instance, the quan- beyond the racist, colonial, heteronormative state. Stefano tification and racialization of Indigenous identities through Harney and Fred Moten similarly call for an embrace blood quantum in the United States Sturm, and the of a condition of fugitivity or homelessness when they ask: These forms of regulation were not just about from which emerges neither self-consciousness nor knowledge of enacting controls on Indigenous nations, however; they also the other but an improvisation that proceeds from somewhere on mirrored settler anxieties about how their emergent societ- the other side of an unasked question?
Tracking representations of settlement targets the ways Positioning the protagonists at the edge of the emergent set- in which white Euro-settler values, beliefs, and assumptions tler nation-state, Thomasine and Bushrod is able to imagine a circulate and are mediated, negotiated, and contested range of potentially decolonizing cross-racial relations.
Tracking settlement thus involves tracing the one of the central themes of the film, cross-racial relations range of ways in which film represents the acts and prac- serve as a guiding post around which Thomasine and Bushrod tices of settling.
The distinction between representations of reworks dominant tropes of settlement, albeit in ambiguous bodies, and representations of settlement, is particularly and contradictory ways.
The connections which the film Jafri 53 showcases—between race-and-class oppressed peoples, member Emory Douglas asserts in an interview with between Black and Indigenous peoples, and among the trans- the Socialist Worker, national Black diaspora—are wideranging.
I examine each respective form of connection shortly. The relationships We always had strong solidarity with many progressive and potentially challenge dominant white settler American for- revolutionary organizations, such as our Latino brothers in mations of nationhood—which hinge on social and familial sister [sic] in the Brown Berets, our Puerto Rican comrades in relationships organized through private property ownership the Young Lords, our Chinese American comrades in the Red Guard and the I Wor Kuen and our white comrades in the and capitalist accumulation—by enabling a disruption of Young Patriots.
All were inspired by our practice, and we were colonial-capitalist notions of kinship, family, and property all united in solidarity—against state oppression and in our ownership. By showcasing these relations, the film thus efforts to meet the basic quality-of-life concerns of the imagines radical decolonizing alternatives to white settler community with our many community survival programs. Motivation for their robberies also comes largely ity with indigenous peoples.
We future home and life. By the end of the film, Thomasine is were always in solidarity with AIM, the American Indian pregnant and she and Bushrod have plans to leave behind Movement. In terms of the tensions it presents between set- defense organizing model Ogbar, Perhaps because tling down and alternative ways of living and moving on the U.
Both radical decolonizing alternatives to movements against white supremacy and settler colonial- white settler colonialism and settled life or at least, a set- ism; both were interested in overthrowing the state. Or even Would it be overthrown?
Radicals tasy of Black—Indigenous relations as resistance to white and progressives. The implication is that they must choose In a scene following their first major bank robbery, the two one or the other.
The film frames this conflict through a gen- stop in a multiracial village and hand out wads of cash to its dered contrast between the couple, with their respective silent but grateful inhabitants.
A ransom ad confirming their positions in the Black diaspora—in relation to Indigeneity Robin Hood-like status—which doubles as the film poster— and ancestry—also contributing to this contrast.
The Black Panther Party, any means necessary. While desires for comfort, rootedness, which was active from the late s to the early s, and stability are not troublesome in and of themselves, championed a model of organizing based on the solidarity Thomasine expresses these desires in terms of capitalist of peoples oppressed by the state.
Thomasine & Bushrod - WikiVividly
In other words, even as access to white settler institu- and capacity for fostering connections with other Blacks in tions eludes Thomasine and Bushrod because they are out- the region: Later, it is due to her insistence that they settle around with them circus people. In down that they begin their robbing spree.
All for a couple of minutes [laughs]. What do they call you? Bushrod—a Black Indigenous But my name is Nathaniel. And you man with known, traceable ancestry—has less interest in wanna know something else?
You the accumulating wealth and settling down. He is content with first person who asked my name in a his work as a horse-breaker and not overly concerned with long time. I just thought it might be nice view of masculinity, while making invisible the radical to know in case I run into you again. Where you Indigenous relations holds some promise, it also ultimately from? My folks helped build it. I see they left you a part of it. I bet your folks was from found in many Hollywood Westerns.
Something about you that Westerns, encounters with Indians may serve multiple pur- brings Texas to mind. American settlement, as in Allegheny Uprising; they may A farmer found me in a pigpen when be reminders of a lost, primitive self that needs to be recov- I was just a couple hours old.
In or just lick the blood off me. The film first torical Black—Indigenous relations, the representation is establishes these origins in his first lines of dialogue, an also more meaningful and complex. This expository scene the erasure of Indigeneity: In popular American cul- through constructed kinship.
Yet whereas in Westerns such tural texts, this figure is often absorbed into a national as The Revenant Milchan et al. In Celluloid Indian, for example, remembrance of Black—Indigenous relationality enacts a Jacqueline Kilpatrick observes that the noble savage of recovery of forgotten histories of mutual support and strug- s and s Hollywood films could be found stand- gle against slavery and colonization.
In other words, the indigenizing function. Initially, it appears as if the negotiating Indigenous voice and agency.
In Thomasine, plot will unfold in the same way that it does in so many the character of Pecolia serves a similar function. She is a Westerns—with an ambush by silent, angry Indians. The spooky ambiance of the scene echoes her knowledge. It does not change the course of their a common trope of American Western films and literature, actions, or their understanding of themselves.
Renee Bergland argues that the disappears from the film. The pres- The third way in which Thomasine and Bushrod imagines ence of Indigenous people and the violent struggle through alternatives to the settler state is through transnational Black which manifest destiny was carried out is a specter that relations, represented through the character of Jomo, a haunts American cultural imagination.
However, the film Black Jamaican man and friend to Thomasine and Bushrod. The affinity is confirmed this case, of Black Jamaican workers who migrated to the when they encounter a small Black—Indigenous community, United States following the construction of the Panama who provide the pair with shelter in the cliffs.
An elder Canal from to Richardson, These scholars have suggested that Blackness be zation in the film, and to a history of Black—Indigenous understood outside of nationalist frames and as a hybrid- relations that otherwise receives scant attention.
Thomasine & Bushrod - WikiVisually
In The Black At the same time, the character of Pecolia in the film is Atlantic, for instance, Gilroy argues against African arguably not too different from the romanticized, noble American or Black British exceptionalism, and for a notion Indian found across American film.
Their intimacy extends than, say, another African American character or another so far that Jomo refuses to give up information about racialized American character. This is particularly signifi- cases the role playing reveals the permeable boundaries cant as Thomasine expresses a desire, early in the film, for between acting and being; the drag actors are all performing the family that she never had.
In its imagination of transatlantic confines of the settler state. Of course, different forms of lov- Blackness, Thomasine and Bushrod notably challenges a ing and relationality do not challenge settler colonialism in nationalist construction of Blackness that is invested in and of themselves. For instance, as Scott Morgenseninclusion within American nationhood. Amadahy and Lawrence argue that this is radical, potentially decolonizing alternative.
For instance, land all remaining Indigenous peoples, if not directly through ownership is not only the motivation for Thomasine and murder then through forced assimilation.
Although their ence of Indigenous peoples and of historical relations dream of land ownership can only be realized outside of the between Black and Indigenous communities in the United law, and therefore outside of settler institutions, being out- States. Rather, they are positioned in a the film to imagine possibilities for alternative forms of kin- space between Indigenous nations and the white settler ship that challenge the nation-building imperatives of the set- nation.
However, this dream of land ownership is inter- tler state. On one the state, capitalism, and kinship. Pointing to the way in hand, the tragic ending of the film—and the failure to which kinship structures regulate political subjectivity and achieve the fantasy of settlement—points to the impossibil- structure modes of power, queer scholars e.
Discourses of race posi- Notes tion racialized bodies as perversely outside of the boundar- 1. A note on terminology: I use Native, Native American, and ies of respectability; as incapable of the capacity to Indigenous interchangeably in this article.
As Jasbir Puar when referring to cultural constructions of Native Americans writes, in Hollywood films. The majority of Black Westerns do not take up Black— [f]or queer politics, the challenge is. For instance, as noted earlier, few Black Westerns include and cannot regenerate and what kinds of assemblages they representations of these relations.
The dream-like epilogue seems to sug- References gest the former. It replays the fantasy for viewers through a slow-motion reprise of an earlier scene of Thomasine and Amadahy, Z.
Indigenous peoples and Bushrod playfully splashing one another in a tranquil pond, Black people in Canada: Anti-colonialism in the US in an idyllic, green, secluded area, to the title soundtrack of and Canada pp. This pastoral moment, and its emphasis in the film Arvin, M. Decolonizing femi- via both repetition and soundtrack, imagines a claim to set- nism: Challenging connections between settler colonialism tled life.
This valuation of settlement in Thomasine and and heteropatriarchy. Feminist Formations, 25 1 Bushrod sits in tension with the radical and subversive ele- Barker, J. In sum, a focus on settlement illuminates how Thomasine American Quarterly, 60, Bonnie and Indigenous erasure. The film reimagines the processes of Clyde [DVD].
Indian ghosts and based life restrictions faced by Black people in the United American subjects. University Press of New England.Joshua, the Black Rider - Western Movie, Full Length
The effects of this reimagining are mixed: The film Bird, E. The construction not only represents a longing for settlement but also imagines of the Indian in American popular culture. Simultaneously, Thomasine and Brill, F. Bushrod reveals the deadly racialized limits of settlement: A man called horse [DVD]. Settlement is regulated, restricted, and confined for Black Butler, J.