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It's Black Entertainment [Import]

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Actors: Debbie Allen, Carl Anderson, Louis Armstrong, Josephine Baker, Donald Bogle
  • Directors: Stan Lathan
  • Writers: John Davies
  • Producers: Stan Lathan, Barry Clark, Jason Fisher, John Davies, R.J. Johnson
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, NTSC, Import
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: NR
  • Studio: Showtime Ent.
  • Release Date: July 17 2001
  • Run Time: 80 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • ASIN: B00005B34L
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Product Description

Product Description

A star-studded tribute (from the creators of That's Entertainment) to the contributions of Afro-Americans in film over the last century. Vanessa Williams traces the struggles and triumphs of the superstars of music and film. Among the many artists featured are: Whitney Houston, Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Cab Calloway, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, Ella Fitzgerald, and Little Richard, Also included are today's contemporary superstars: Snoop Dogg, Ice T, Quincy Jones, Spike Lee, Russell Simmons, and many, more! 80 minutes plus DVD bonus features.


There weren't many African American faces when MGM trotted out the pastiche of its own musical glory, 1974's That's Entertainment! That fact is redressed in dazzling fashion in this compilation video, originally broadcast on Showtime. Hosted by Vanessa Williams, the retrospective is broken up into several categories: dancers, divas, rock and soul, jazz and swing, male singers, and hip-hop. With an 80-minute running time, it's hardly comprehensive, but what it includes is choice. Most dazzling is a section on tap dancers, with amazing footage of relatively unknown (at least in the mainstream) performers like Stump & Stumpy and Earl "Snakehips" Tucker. It's easy to quibble about people who are included (Diana Ross over Etta James?) or excluded (Ray Charles? Chuck Berry?), but it's hard to ignore the terrific old footage or the cogent commentary by observers such as Jamie Foxx, Quincy Jones, and Debbie Allen. --Marshall Fine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
The 3 stars are for the brevity of the disc itself. The content gets 5 stars. The problem we have here is that this should have been a 6 hour (at least) program instead of 80 minutes. Magnificent black artists are only touched upon and many, many are left out all together. The dvd has 6 chapters: THE DANCERS, THE DIVAS, MALE SINGERS, JAZZ & SWING, ROCK & SOUL and HIP HOP. So you have about 10 minutes on the history of black jazz and swing music...yeah, right! And think of the wealth of information disclosed when we are treated to 10 minutes on the history of rock and soul music. RIDICULOUS! It's like getting a smell of the bar-b-q and not being able to taste it. Don't get me wrong....what there is is fantastic. It's just that there is so little! It's so brief that it almost seems to cut off mid-sentance. The rich legacy of entertainment left to us by Sammy Davis Jr is wrapped up in about 2 minutes. The Nicholas Brothers get a little more time but still not nearly enough. It IS probably worth the money but don't expect more than an 80 minute overview of wonderful black entertainers who should have been given a helluva lot more time out of respect for their magnificent efforts. This doesn't apply to the boring Rap & Hip Hop segment. That's all mouth and attitude...not entertainment, and self-confessed players and hustlers of limited talent like Ice T (see "Pimps Up, Ho's Down) should have stayed at home.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa64310b4) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa6418294) out of 5 stars Scratching the surface... April 4 2007
By Matthew G. Sherwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
It's Black Entertainment is a documentary about the contributions African Americans have made in the entertainment industry. It features commentary by such greats as Debbie Allen, Gregory Hines, Spike Lee, Ice-T, Faynard Nicholas, Little Richard and Wynton Marsalis. The quality of the sound is great and the way these great entertainers are interviewed demonstrates good judgment.

Unfortunately, after that, this documentary runs into trouble--and fast. From the very beginning we see little more than remarkably short clips of the best of the best performing in movies and live on stage. You get great clips of Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, people breakdancing, The Nicholas Brothers' amazing dancing in Stormy Weather, Eartha Kitt dancing and singing and so much more as well. However, the word "clips" is the word that best describes what you're going to see when you watch this Showtime documentary. The film clips are simply too short; and the program attempts to cover too much ground too quickly.

For example, the 80 minute program is divided into six segments: The Dancers, The Divas, Rock & Soul, Jazz & Swing, Male Singers and Hip Hop. That's too much ground to cover in just 80 minutes. Unfortunately, therefore, the producers fail to give us an in-depth look at what black Americans REALLY did contribute to the entertainment industry. Yes, the footage they show you is wonderful; the quality of the footage is usually rather good for its age and you experience a wonderful feeling when you watch this historic footage. But how much can anybody say about black entertainment when the Jazz & Swing segment is a mere seven minutes?

The DVD comes with few extras; and what you get is more of the same--great performances pre-packaged into tiny 60 second mini segments. The image quality isn't as good as the footage in the actual documentary but the performances strike you with awe just the same. Unfortunately, this seven minute bonus feature again does little more than scratch the surface once again.

The footage you do get easily deserves five stars; but there's too much chopping up of this precious footage. They also try to cover too much ground in too short a time. Unfortunately, I must take off two stars to make this a three star review.

I recommend It's Black Entertainment mainly for persons who will be satisfied with just a cursory introduction to black entertainment. People who want to truly study the fine contributions of African Americans to the entertainment world will do best to skip over this one and look elsewhere for a better documentary with much more extensive footage and longer interviews.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa64182e8) out of 5 stars It's real entertainmet! Jan. 27 2011
By Adelaide Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I read some of the reviews before I order this DVD. Some people said that it is not good because it has really short passages of a bunch of movies. I just think it's great the way it is because we can see many different singers and musicians and later select the films with those we liked the most.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa64185c4) out of 5 stars RIGHT PRICE Aug. 1 2008
By Lester L. Carter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an overall view. It doesn't give you too much information. The good thing is, it gives titles so you can pursue other venues to get to the pieces you're interested in. For instance, I've been looking for the dance sequence of the jitterbuggers. This disc gives me the title so I can try and locate the entire film. Thank you.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa64184bc) out of 5 stars Fantastic April 23 2011
By J. Milner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you are a fan of Black cinema, this DVD is for you. Great clips and seldom seen footage of some great performances are included. Vanessa Williams does a great job of narrating. Very entertaining! I had purchased the videotape years ago but I had to have the DVD for my library,so that I'll be able to enjoy it for years to come.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa64186a8) out of 5 stars Good Starter for someone unfamiliar w/ the pioneers Jan. 3 2013
By 2conscious - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
It's a good overview, for students or foreigners. Someone
needs to know the pioneers of the culture which has been
copied multiple times, throughout the world.