Our satire strand considers how Black comics explore and explode tropes of Blackness. and how performers navigate the negative tropes demanded by a white film industry. Comedic performance serves an important role in communal well being and offers a lens through which one can observe societal change. The trickster is part of a body of oral history passed down by storytellers, musicians and entertainers who in slavery and freedom have used these tales to entertain, teach, preach, cope and to heal. The discrepancy between white perceptions of Blackness and Black realities remains the creative spark for Black satire. It would be easy to critique individual performers, but their choices must be seen in the context of the racism of the time, the hegemony of white expectations and the narrow opportunities for Black performers to break into film and television. Newly released Sorry to Bother You (2018), the rarely screened Bamboozled (2000), and TV drama Shoot the Messenger (2006) capture the power of satire to say that which has become uncomfortable.
The Buddy Movies strand considers how this popular vehicle has introduced Black performers to the mainstream audience. US comedy Girls' Trip (2017) brings to the big screen a celebration of Black female humanity and friendship through the kind of humour traditionally reserved for men. One might say that the Black female performer is doubly pioneering given that the heritage of Black performance – folklore, traditions, - rarely mention women as comedic agents