Thursday, October 17, 2019

Episode #119 - Racquel Gates (White Chicks)

"The images, lines, and things that people quote are never the ones that get written about...It seems to me the way people engage these movies is much more complex."

In some regards, cinephilia often defines itself in knowing what is good from what is bad, highlighting the rarity of intention and execution in a select few texts from the rest of the trash. But what about those supposedly bad films? Do they not offer insight into our culture as well? In Double Negative, Associate Professor Racquel Gates explores the supposed bad mirror image of black cinema and television from the 1980s and beyond. Looking at a set of nearly forgotten works, Gates examines how these texts reveal insights into black popular culture often ignored by the mainstream. As Peter and Racquel discuss, these texts often aim to show a slice of American life what is usually acceptable in white popular culture—if only simply showing suburban middle-class life. In their final segment, they dissect the topic of whiteness with the 2004 Wayans Brother flick White Chicks, a very silly film with a very insightful dissection of privilege and femininity, as well as absolute sheer gross-out humor. 

0:00–3:03 Opening
3:41–11:37 Establishing Shots — At the Mill Valley Film Festival
12:23–49:33 Deep Focus — Racquel Gates
50:52–54:23 Sponsorship Section
55:33–1:06:04 Double Exposure — White Chicks (Keenen Ivory Wayans)
1:06:25–1:08:17 Close / Outtake

Notes and Links to the Conversation
—I noted incorrectly in the introduction that this is episode #120 when it is in fact only #119!
—Learn more about Racquel Gates and check out her book, Double Negative
—Learn more about the Mill Valley Film Festival
—Listen to Dan Sallitt on the podcast
—Racquel Gates and Michael Boyce Gillespie on reclaiming Black Media Studies
—Gates on the aesthetics and politics of black film and media
—The Film Quarterly Roundtable on Showgirls
—Jeffrey Sconce discusses trash in Sleaze Artists: Cinema at the Margins of Taste, Style, and Politics
Kristen Warner appeared on the podcast here.
—Eddie Murphey's "Oscars So White" moment in 1988
—Bambi Haggins's Laughing Mad: The Black Comic Persona in Post-soul America
—Mel Watkins' On the Real Side: A History of African American Comedys
—Oprah in Madea's Family Reunion
A defense of Norbit by Richard Brody
—Gates on Reality Television
—Ashley Clark programmed an entire series "On Whiteness" at BAMCinematek in 2018
—Gates on Race and Motherhood through Reality TV
—Chris Rock on White Chicks at the 2004 Oscars
—Richard Dyer's White

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