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

Nicholas Sammond, Author
Space, page 26 of 36


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Space, Page 187

Commonly referred to as "jungle music," swing music became wildly popular in the American consciousness. Nightclub emcees and radio announcers tended to locate the ostensibly "black" cultural production as emanating from the jungles of Africa, New Orleans, or "Darktown" (aka Harlem).

Similarly, cartoons extended that racial geography into 2-D space, depicting jazz music as arising out of the urban ghettos of America - spaces which were portals to fantastic blackness.

For example, Clean Pastures located Harlem on the African continent, depicting an angelic "Pair-O-Dice" where segregation is only natural.

Similarly, the 1938 Walter Lantz short Voodoo In Harlem animated stereotypical Ubangi natives singing about voodoo practices taking place in Harlem. Springing forth from the fantastic blackness of the inkwell, the Ubangi leave behind a black spot, which is discovered by an African-American maid who is there to clean up the mess.
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