Monday, May 22, 2006

To Golly or Not To Golly...


While looking on the web for doll patterns for one of my personal favorites, the Golliwog, I came across really ignorant dismissals of such an adorable character. In fact, some went so far as to call fans of this character racists. What a shame! It is perplexing and fascinating the range of emotions Golliwogs ellicite. It made me think of Spike Lee's film, Bamboozled in which the main character played by Damon Wayans is an executive at a major t.v. network. When his ideas for a serious black show (because it is not black enough) are turned down, he retaliates with creating an all-black minstrel show called Mantan--The New Millennium Minstrel Show. In effect, Spike Lee's powerful and engaging film examines black culture as seen by non-blacks. You either love the film or hate it.
On the same note, Ralph Bakshi made a parody of Disney's Song of the South called Streetfight a.k.a Coonskin a.k.a Bustin' Out. I think it has somewhat the same flavor as Bamboozled. An interesting bit of trivia is in researching his film, Bakshi interviewed black people in Harlem what it feels like to be black in America. My favorite part is the woman telling the story about this cockroach who shares her apartment. I do hope that there will be a nice dvd edition someday, perhaps they can even out the soundtrack too.
I can only say this much, these images will have whatever power you give them. As for the golliwoggs, I will continue to enjoy and make them.
If you are interested in reading The Adventure of Two Dutch Dolls and a 'Golliwogg' by Bertha Upton , click here.