Racism in Film


Tyler Perry Studios officially opened in 2006 but, it would surprise many the first African-American movie studio was founded in 1915!! The Lincoln Motion Picture Company, founded by Noble and George Johnson, was the 1st African American owned movie production company (1916 - 1921). During the Golden Age of Hollywood, Paramount, Universal, and MGM catered to the Subarian Anglo-American Housewives, oftentimes neglecting an even larger African-American demographic. Filling this void, the Johnson brothers released their first movie, The Realization of a Negro's Ambition in 1916.

Before Noble Johnson was the CEO of his own company, he was a screen actor appearing in many silent movies, holding his own against veteran actors Buster Keaton, John Barrymore, and Douglas Fairbanks. He recognized the need to showcase the plight and stories of his kinship that reflected the heart, drama, and intelligence of his community, as opposed to a criminal, uneducated man or stereotypical comedic sidekick.

The Norman Studios Online Museum offers a wonderful description of his movies, life, and the impact the Lincoln Motion Picture Company had on the African-American community. I urge you to check it out!! 

Kelly Perez, Adjunct Professor