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Black LandImperial Ethiopianism and African America$
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Nadia Nurhussein

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691190969

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691190969.001.0001

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Empire on the World Stage

Empire on the World Stage

Chapter:
(p.119) Chapter Five Empire on the World Stage
Source:
Black Land
Author(s):

Nadia Nurhussein

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691190969.003.0006

This chapter begins with a scene from George White's 1936 “Scandals,” reprised in the 1937 film “You Can't Have Everything,” that featured the dance team known as Tip, Tap, and Toe as Haile Selassie and two of his army's soldiers. Many reviews considered this scene the best one of White's Broadway musical revue, and a photograph from this scene was even included in the cover story of the January 6, 1936 issue of Time magazine, a profile of Haile Selassie declaring him the magazine's “Man of the Year.” With hints of so-called “Ethiopian minstrelsy,” the image of Selassie in the public eye was an odd amalgam of ancient solemnity and slick modernity. Literary and journalistic accounts of Selassie depicted a leader who evinced an attraction to technology and modernization that was undermined by Ethiopian culture and landscape deemed somehow averse to modern life. The chapter also addresses the theatrical representations of Ethiopia with Arthur Arent's censored 1936 Federal Theater Project Ethiopia, which was generically categorized as a “living newspaper,” and an important turn-of-the-century libretto, starring blackface performers Bert Williams and George Walker.

Keywords:   George White, Scandals, Haile Selassie, Time magazine, Ethiopian minstrelsy, Arthur Arent, living newspaper, Bert Williams, George Walker

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