From the 7 Mercenaries to Django Unchained, how Hollywood represented the forgotten black cowboys of American history

From the 7 Mercenaries to Django Unchained, how Hollywood represented the forgotten black cowboys of American history

Emilie Semiramoth
Emilie Semiramoth

Head of Streaming Section

Fed up with TV series and auteur cinema, Emilie Semiramoth does not also hide her penchant for pop culture in all its eccentricities. From the bromance between Spock and Captain Kirk in Star Trek to the disillusionment of Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, she ignores gender boundaries.

Forgotten in the history books of the United States, the presence of African-American cowboys is also very rare on the big screen. How did Hollywood represent them? What are the most iconic films? Response from experts.

By revisiting its history and especially that of the conquest of the West, America forgot to include African-American cowboys. More and more prevalent in Hollywood, the question of the representation of minorities is returning to the center of debates and sheds new light on History but also on the way in which it has been brought to the cinema.

The most famous black cowboy in American cinema is undoubtedly the hero of Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Other films have attempted to imagine a figure of the cowboy, other than the one rooted in people’s minds by the various incarnations of John Wayne… with varying degrees of success.

As a movement of African-American cowboys emerges, illustrated in particular in the film Concrete Cowboy with Idris Elba, AlloCiné spoke with Frédéric mercier, film critic at Transfuge, Positif and Le Cercle Cinéma on Canal + who told us about the rare westerns that feature black cowboys; and Francois Durpaire, historian specializing in the United States.

Together, they decipher this little-known part of history and the history of cinema.

Interview by Emilie Semiramoth – Editing: Constance Matthews

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