Book Excerpt! A Piece of the Action, By Eithne Quinn

Well-written, meticulously researched, critical, and smart, A Piece of the Action may be the most important book on black American cinema in the last quarter century. Enjoyable and highly informative, this book will quickly emerge as a classic and must-read among those interested in film history, black cinema, race and popular culture, and the sociology of culture.

~S. Craig Watkins, author of Don’t Knock the Hustle: Young Creatives, Tech Ingenuity, and the Making of a New Innovation Economy

On Sunday night, Joaquin Phoenix accepted the 2020 Oscar for best actor. In his speech, he said, “I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the distressing issues that we are facing collectively. I think at times we feel, or were made to feel, that we champion different causes, but for me, I see commonality. I think, whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against injustice. We’re talking about the fight against the belief that one nation, one people, one race, one gender or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity.”

In this excerpt from A Piece of the Action: Race and Labor in Post–Civil Rights Hollywood, Eithne Quinn highlights the limits of Hollywood’s liberalism, showing how predominantly white filmmakers, executives, and unions hid the persistence of racism behind feel-good stories and public-relations avowals of tolerance. 

If you enjoy this post, make sure to read last week’s post about Dismantling Hollywood’s Whiteness Problem and enter our 2020 Black History Month giveaway for a chance to win a copy of A Piece of the Action.

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