Hollywood Shuffle (1987)

Rated R

Hollywood Shuffle is an urban cult classic!  This clever and humorous film centers upon Bobby Taylor, a Black man, who is attempting to attain his “pie-in-the-sky” aspiration of being an actor in the elite motion picture capital despite the industry’s negative stereotyping of African-Americans.

Set in the later 1980s, the film opens with Bobby practicing movie script lines of stereotypical, Black “jive” lingo with his much younger brother, Stevie (Craigus Johnson).  Bobby is to audition for a role in Jivetime Jimmy’s Revenge, a film about street gangs that is replete with negative stereotypes of African-Americans and Hispanic Americans.  Bobby has several reasons, including being able to greater support his family, that he wants to become an actor.  His mother (Starletta DuPois), girlfriend, Lydia (Anne-Marie Johnson) and Uncle Ray (David McKnight) are supportive of Bobby’s aspiration.  However, Bobby’s grandmother (Helen Martin) wants him to have greater dignity in himself and the path he wants to take to reach his goals.  This is especially vital, as he is a huge influence on Stevie.  Because of Bobby’s impact, their grandmother repeatedly reminds him to honor the sacrifices Blacks have made for him and even suggests for him to seek a stable job, perhaps as a mail carrier, until an opportunity worthy of him arrives.

… What will Bobby do … will he seek to continue acting?  Will he try to enact change, from within his acting roles?  Will he heed the advice of his family members to take chances to reach his dream?  Or will he listen to his grandmother, as “there’s work at the post office”?  Check it out and see!

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