Words Worth Noting

Favorite Quotes

"Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point. French. Pascal. The heart has its reasons, whereof reason knows nothing."— Madeleine L'Engle

Thursday, July 18, 2024

All my writing and interviews in one place!

Hi I've been doing a lot of writing and not a lot of blog posting. The good news is I now have a constantly updated portfolio page right on this website that includes brief excerpts and links to ALL of my recent writing and podcasts: portfolio.cvbell.com. The different tabs link to subsections for interviews, writing about books, and on film and tv I hope you'll give it a visit.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Black Achievement and Joy at the Dawn of American Film

This February I'm basking in the joy of finally writing one of the pieces on Black movie history that I've been thinking about way on the back burner since grad school. If I'm honest, this one made my whole year. I'm proud of this feature I wrote for IndieWire about early Black participation in American film. It's based on copious reading, watching and original interviews with insiders-- film historians and the descendants of American legends Lena Horne and Fayard and Harold Nicholas.

The package has two parts: a dive into the segregated systems, challenges and triumphs of Black artists and a gallery of some of the most memorable performances of the 1920s to 1940s.

The essay: 
How Black Actors Broke Through in Old Hollywood — Day to Day, Role to Role

The list: 
15 Path-Breaking Black Performers of Old Hollywood — and Early American Indie Film

Here's one small taste of the performance I discuss. Cab Calloway and The Nicholas Brothers in Stormy Weather (1943).