Monthly Archives: February 2019

Lisa Duffy presents “‘City of stars, are you shining just for me?’: Non-White Representation in the Modern Screen Musical”


‘The towering genre of musical film during the classical Hollywood years was a space dedicated to telling white stories. While this is true of all genres of the era, the musical liberally utilised music and choreography from non-white communities, making the erasure of marginalised peoples from the screen all the more egregious. In the modern era, there has been a focus on increasing the representation of minorities with awareness campaigns such as #OscarsSoWhite. However, contemporary musical films outside of biopics have been resistant to embracing diverse stories, aligning themselves with the entrenched white history of the genre by spotlighting white stories through black music while using minority people as background dressing. While the musical film remains conservatively tied to a bygone era, the genre on television has been quietly championing diversity for decades. From the multiracial casts of the Disney produced made-for-TV musicals in the 1990s to minority actors performing central roles in musical series like Smash (2012-2013) and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-2019), television has become a space for non-white stories to thrive. This paper will examine the musical genre across the two mediums, considering why there exists such a gap in minority representation between film and television.’

Wednesday, 13 February, 5:15 pm, ArtsOne, Hitchcock Cinema


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