Dance On Film Students Respond to Racial Representations in The Wiz

Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Connecting Classrooms 16-17, Dialogue Blog | 21 comments

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In a recent session of Molly Faullkner’s DNCE 102 Survey of Dance on Film, students watched and discussed The Wiz. In the comments to this post, they will share some of their reactions.  Read the comments below and please, add your thoughts to the dialogue.  Remember to be considerate and respectful in the way you choose to express your ideas.

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Maryann
Maryann

In the scene entering the wicked witch’s factory, we see all of her slaves working in masks. This could be a parallel to black face in minstrel shows. None of the slaves are happy to be working in such conditions. When Dorothy kills the wicked witch, we see the slaves removing their masks and costumes as they begin to dance with joy.

Taylor Busse
Taylor Busse

“The Wiz”(78) is remake of the classic movie “The Wizard of Oz”(39) but is difficult to compare to it because of how different the movies are to eachother. The Wiz points out many racial stereotypes as we see with the graffiti kids, The One and the evilene’s monkeys and sweat shop workers. One thing I had mentioned in class about the movie was the use of the numbers in beginning when Dorothy first lands in Oz. The good witch is referred to as “The one” and the graffiti kids transform from 2 dimensional to 3 dimensional. I related this back… Read more »

Mer_Calmant
Mer_Calmant

I thought this movie was really interesting. Contrasting with the movie “Bamboozled”, “The Wiz” not only shows a lot of racially “accepted” stereotypes but kind of embraces them. I thought it was very interesting that in “Bamboozled” the director wanted to get the message across about how easy, dangerous and prevalent it is to fall into a rascist mindset. “The Wiz” on the other hand kind of took everything in stride as if it was saying, “well, that’s just how things are. No need to change it.” In my mind that’s a very sad and disturbing thought. Just like a… Read more »

Molly Faulkner
Molly Faulkner

The Wiz is really a sociological study of class. We start in a middle class home, travel to a graffiti filled inner-city, and end up in an upper class OZ. The value systems presented are consistent with class as well. Our middle class environment stresses education and career, our inner-city environment highlights community and working together for a common good/goal, and our OZ is all about appearance, connections, and networking. There are references about not being able to get a taxi, about being marginalized because of skin-tone, and fearing violence/oppression from authorities. These are woven in to the narrative almost… Read more »

Izzy
Izzy

This film was very dynamic within its ability to explore deep issues such as race and social class, while still providing spectacular dance and musical components to the film, performed by talented actors and dancers. The theme was about taking the challenges you face in life, both mentally and physically and believing in yourself enough to know that you can take control of your fate and do what your heart desires with some determination. “The Wiz” was able to highlight many institutional racism issues that were present during the time of production, some of which are still pressing issues in… Read more »

Vitolo, P
Vitolo, P

The Wiz was a film that was artful and clever in the making of the film entertaining where it still used racial stereotyping in a discrete way. If we open our eyes and read deeper into the meanings represented in the film you can see how racial representations were used in the film with some given examples. Some examples include from dance scenes themselves, a main one I believe was the sweat shop scene. An obvious stereotype of race resembled the evil queen sweatshop “monkeys.” The monkeys had a black face symbolism to them. As we saw in Bamboozled, a… Read more »

Tomoka Fujita
Tomoka Fujita

I felt this movie is something special because all casts are black people. Before I watched this movie, I read the short picture book for children. In the book, the main character, who is Dorothy, was white people. However, (maybe) black woman is starring in this movie as Dorothy.I was surprised. Even though there are some not black people, they are behaving like black people. It’s interesting, and I felt similarities between this movie and Banboozled because there are many black people in this movie, and also Banboozled is focusing on black people. During our discussion, we discussed about stereotypes… Read more »

Veronica T.
Veronica T.

The Wiz was a creative movie with so much attention to detail. Every little detail sends your mind wondering. Why was the yellow brick road in pieces? Why was the lion stuck in the front of a library? Why did the taxis keep leaving? Why was there the ghetto? Why did the graffiti kids come off the walls? If you really think about all of these questions, there’s so much more that can come out of this movie. The yellow brick road comes together when the community comes together in the end. The lion was stuck outside the house of… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous

Some controversial themes arose from our class screening of Sidney Lumet’s “The Wiz”. Institutional racism being prominent theme throughout the Film. “The Wiz” was a star cast of all african american dancers, singers, and actors, however was directed by Sidney Lumet, a middle aged white man, and was executively produced by Craig Zadan and Neil Meron (also two middle aged white men). Many themes of subtle institutional racism can be found in this film, for example the concept of having OZ as an urban wasteland and having a very gehtto vibe, from the scare crow being made out of trash,… Read more »

Tia Rivera
Tia Rivera

The movie “The Wiz”, although directed by a white man, well embodied the issue of racism towards African Americans, similar to that of “Bamboozled”. The movie did well to steer away from the stereotypes that African Americans in films are typically associated with, such as African Americans being either poor or the lowest class, or rich in the high economic status class. “The Wiz” demonstrated the class in between, which is not shown very often, of the middle class African American family. The movie included a vast amount of choreography that not just contributed to the display of a musical,… Read more »

AA, Dance 102
AA, Dance 102

“The Wiz” is one huge metaphor on various social and racial issues in the society. Set in the urban atmosphere of New York, the characters find themselves strolling through the ghetto areas,in search of the personal qualities. As the scenes evolve, the viewer sees bits and pieces of racist representations, whether it is the yellow taxi that is always “off duty” for them or different freaks, that essentially represent white man’s world that chases them(flying monkeys, trashcans with teeth, expanding paper dolls). Also, the fact that all of the actors are African-American Americans or of African- American origin makes us… Read more »

Andrew Ghani
Andrew Ghani

In a new twisted more soulful way of the classic tale of the wizard of oz we find ourselves with the new interpretation featuring michael jackson, dianna ross, and a few other big names and it wasn’t derogatory racism in this movie necessarily it was really just a lot of stereotyping with the characters personalities and how people talked and sang and treated eachother etc. It wasn’t very hurtful more so just a little tough to fathom what was acceptable then compared to now

Anonymous
Anonymous

Jessica dance 102 There were many scenes that showcased diversity within a society and institutional racisim. For instance, there was a dance where a witch was in charge of a “sweat shop” and all her workers were trapped in a different body that hid them from their true identity. After the witch died the workers were freed and no longer trapped in their body suit. This reminded me of slave owners because they would take away African Americans rights and saw them just as property rather than human beings.Which correlates with the social movement of the civil rights because this… Read more »

LD
LD

I really enjoyed the movie “The Wiz”(78), a parallel to “The Wizard of Oz” made in the 1930’s. This film covers everything. It highlights important themes in race and travels through each social class. Starting out in a middle class African American home, then taking you to an old dark abandoned park with graffiti everywhere. One of the most interesting parts of the film was when the graffiti came to life as children, or the munchkins, representing the freedom they have now that the wicked witch is dead. Personally, the best part of the film was the amount of detail… Read more »

R
R

I personally found movie very interesting and bit Racist as well. But, I can’t say about it much

Ranjeet

I have seen this movie a long ago and yes I found it Racist.

Rai

I have to say that this movie is among the movies that I hat.

Anonymous
Anonymous

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Anonymous
Anonymous

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Anonymous
Anonymous

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Anonymous
Anonymous

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