colorism, Billie Holiday Theatre, School Daze, Spike Lee, Imitation of Life, Lana Turner, Dael Orlandersmith, Yellowman, RestorationArt, Douglas Sirk, John Gavin, Juanita Moore, Lawrence Fishburne,

The film series kicks off on April 8, featuring School Daze, Imitation of Life and Yellowman

As the Marvel Comics movie Black Panther sweeps the nation, black pride and intra-cultural examination are at an all-time high for many Americans of the African Diaspora. Included in that examination is the age-old topic of colorism, and RestorationArt also will survey the subject with a film series.

“A Look Back at Colorism: A Screening Series,” kicks off on Sunday, April 8, with Spike Lee’s School Daze, at the Billie Holiday Theatre. Much of School Daze is based on director Spike Lee’s experiences while a student at Morehouse College. Laurence Fishburne plays what amounts to Lee’s alter ego: A serious, self-involved student who tries to shake up the campus’ political conscience and clashes with the fraternity/sorority system. During its premiere in 1988, School Daze initiated serious dialogues around issues of race, colorism and hair texture within the black community.

Imitation of Life. Photo credit: The Metropolis Times

Imitation of Life, directed by Douglas Sirk and starring Lana Turner, John Gavin and Juanita Moore, will follow on Sunday, April 15, in the Skylight Gallery. The story of a struggling young white actress with a six-year-old daughter who sets up housekeeping with a homeless black widow and her light-skinned eight-year-old daughter –who rejects her mother by trying to pass for white — touches on the complexity of racism, colorism, classism and sexism in a very intimate way.

Playwright Dael Orlandersmith also tackled this topic head-on in the Pulitzer Prize finalist Yellowman which will run from Sunday, April 24, to Sunday, May 20, at the Billie Holiday Theatre. In Yellowman, Alma and Eugene have known each other since they were young children. As their childhood connection matures into love, Alma struggles to free herself from her mother’s poverty and alcoholism, while Eugene must contend with the legacy of being “yellow”—lighter-skinned than his brutal and unforgiving father. This seminal work in the American theater canon is a powerful examination of the intraracial tensions that impact communities and individual lives.

Each screening is accompanied by community town halls starting at 2:00pm.

A Look Back at Colorism: A Screening Series

School Daze
When: Sunday, April 8 at 3:00pm & 6:00pm / free. Please RSVP here.
Where: The Billie Holiday Theatre,1368 Fulton St, Brooklyn

Imitation of Life
When: Sunday, April 15 at 3:00pm & 6:00pm / free. Please RSVP here.
Where: The Skylight Gallery at RestorationArt, 1368 Fulton St, Brooklyn

When: Sunday, April 24 – Sunday, May 20 / Tickets $25- $65, available here.
Where: The Billie Holiday Theatre, 1368 Fulton St, Brooklyn


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