Black lords and ladies, telling stories in Regency salons? You do not belive it ! If a screenwriter had proposed a period series in costumes, with a “various” cast, he would have been sent to the roses by any channel director. Yet this is what Shonda Rhimes, the queen of series (she created “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal”) sold to Netflix. Result: viewed by 82 million households, “The Bridgertons Chronicle” is the platform’s biggest historical success.
As luck would have it, I watched Bridgerton Season 1. It is a pop “jane-Austinian” romance, at the very moment when I was immersing myself in the fascinating work of the playwright Yasmine Modestine “Black but white, white but black” (1) which tells how the theater, even before the cinema, worked to “whitewash” its heroines, helping to persuade us that a colored heroine in a crinoline was not credible. Yasmine Modestine knows what she is talking about. An actress before being an author, her skin color has often hurt her: “The roles of young premiere were forbidden to me. “
“An erased historical reality”
His analysis, historical and documented, nevertheless recalls that the society of the Ancien Régime, or Antiquity, was less white than it was represented by the theater and later, Hollywood. “Take Andromeda, in Corneille’s room. Andromeda was an Ethiopian queen, black, so described by Ovid. [poem[poè
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