Film Studies Speaker Series - Professor Amy Abugo Ongiri - Tuesday, JULY 22, 2014

This presentation will examine the 1950s phenomenon of “mambomania” as a moment that troubles the conceptualization of “diaspora” and the visual boundaries of blackness, especially in relationship to the privileging of US popular music culture as a primary and self-contained site for the production of Black identities and the negotiation of racial politics in the US. It will argue the primacy of the visual in negotiating pan-diasporic musical exchange and examine Perez Prado’s key but underexamined role in defining the limits of visual representation of African based music cultures in the US popular market. It will also explore the ways in which Perez Prado’s investment in Africanity challenges and ultimately disrupts the conventions of the Hollywood musical.

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