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Birth of An Industry: Blackface Minstrelsy and the Rise of American Animation

Nicholas Sammond, Author
Race, page 2 of 25

 

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Race, Page 206

In I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You (1932), Louis Armstrong's joyous singing in the style of the dirty blues is transformed into the ravenous slavering of a cannibal. 

This short converts Armstrong's pleasure in singing into the voraciousness of a cannibal looking to eat the Fleischer minstrels Ko-Ko and Bimbo, thus bringing minstrelsy and racist caricature into conflict in a cartoon that expresses white ambivalence toward African American music and culture in the 1930s. An example of fantastic racialized violence, this cartoon casts Armstrong as an object of both fear and desire, which works to obscure Ko-Ko and Bimbo's status as vestigial blackface minstrels. 
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