Friendly, David T. "Guild Will Honor Pioneer Black Film Director" Los Angeles Times 17 May 1986, natl.
Content and Relevance of Work:
David T. Friendly's article, "Guild Will Honor Pioneer Black Film Director", ran in the Los Angeles Times on the 17th of May, 1986. The point of the article was to report a recent development in the film industry: the Directors Guild of America would be presenting Micheaux with a lifetime achievement award for his work as a prolific director. The article continues by pointing out that up until this point little if any attention had been devoted by film scholars to Micheaux's achievements as a director. Thus, the rest of the article is Friendly's attempt to clarify Micheaux's work and place in history for the uninformed reader. Friendly's presentation of Micheaux's place in history proves helpful in understanding whether or not Micheaux was truly racist against his own kind. The article paints a picture of Micheaux as a proud black who created films to counter white, racist stereotypes. Friendly even uses Body and Soul as an example of a film, like all of Micheaux's films, that was "warmly received by black audiences." He also points out how Micheaux's films always portray the black man as the hero who comes out on top. Micheaux is also applauded in the article for creating films that countered white Hollywood in their respective casts; Micheaux used light-skinned black actors to play white characters whereas white Hollywood painted white actors to play black characters. The article presents Micheaux as a symbol of black pride and a proponent of black rights. Thus, Friendly's interpretation of Micheaux's films such as Body and Soul is that he was anything but racist against his own kind and actually presented positive images of blacks for black audiences to emulate. This article is very useful for our investigation but also lacks the depth required to understand Micheaux's reason for using negative images of blacks in Body and Soul. In fact, Friendly does not acknowledge Micheaux's negative representations of blacks at all.