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Black people kiss

A theatre production deed to promote inter-racial harmony in South Africa has been hit by recriminations over an onstage kiss between a white and a black actor.


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Covering a story? Visit our for journalists or call Get more with UChicago News delivered to your inbox. They are on screen for less than 30 seconds, a couple in simple embrace. The man, dressed in a suit and bowtie, and the woman in a frilled dress.

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They hug and kiss, swing wide their clasped hands, and kiss again. Titled Something Good-Negro Kissthe newly discovered silent film from is believed to be the earliest cinematic depiction of African-American affection.

Thanks to scholars at the University of Chicago and the University of Southern California, the footage is prompting a rethinking of early film history.

The film was announced Dec. The second clip is free of stereotypes and racist caricatures, a stark contrast from the majority of black performances at the turn of the century. The footage was discovered by USC archivist Dino Everett, who found the 19th-century nitrate print within a batch of silent films he had acquired from a Louisiana collector nearly three years earlier.

Silent film of black couple’s kiss discovered, added to national film registry

In examining the film, Everett noticed physical characteristics that led him to believe the film was made prior to Her book examined archival materials, such as memos and publicity materials, to explore how black filmmakers used cinema as a method of civic engagement in the s. Added to the National Film Registry nearly two decades ago, the film contained the very first on-screen kiss, and was also one of the first films to be publicly shown.

But less discussed is the fact that Irwin herself was a well-known minstrel performer—a fact that, Field argues, would have shaped how viewers understood both the Irwin-Rice kiss and Something Good-Negro Kiss. Indeed, the discovery of Something Good-Negro Kiss could prompt scholars to reevaluate their perceptions of the time period.

Kiss images

The discovery also offers a reminder to archivists and film scholars that cinematic knowledge is based on an incomplete record—and the hope that other ificant pieces live on, tucked away in basements and storage units. We can still make a lot of important finds. Top Stories.

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