This Black Actress Refused To Conform To Hollywood Stereotypes

dorothy dandridge in front of a microphone
The PushBlack Team
September 10, 2022

The 1954 film “Carmen Jones” made Dorothy Dandridge a star and an American sex symbol. Her new status made her prey for filmmakers who wanted to take advantage of her … but they didn’t know she wasn’t going to go down like that.

In 1958, she accepted a role in the film “Tamango” – in fact, she jumped at the opportunity. She found it empowering that the film depicted a 19th Century revolt of enslaved Africans. 

But then the filmmakers wanted her to do something she was totally uncomfortable with.

To her shock, the script required her to swim nude in a lake – and wear a bikini during a revolt against enslavement! She didn’t like the depiction of this important event, so she wasn’t having any of that.

Dandridge put her career on the line and threatened to quit if the scene remained in the film. What do you think the filmmakers did?

The filmmakers submitted to Dandridge’s demands and rewrote the scene to her liking! Now, that’s what power looks like. We don’t all have that kind of power – but it’s crucial that we wield what power we do have to make change where we can.

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