This is the third show in a week-long series highlighting themes from the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festivals. 

Villain, sacrificial lamb and, often, the first to die. These are just a few of the tropes used to depict black characters in horror films. A new documentary, “Horror Noire”, examines the use of such tropes and the portrayal of African-Americans in the scream category. The film also explains how scary movies have long been a representational space for black culture in the United States.

From the overt racism of “Birth of a Nation” to the surviving symbol of blackness in “Night of the Living Dead”, Hollywood has used the horror genre to tell the history of black people through the lens of the white experience. But thanks to directors like Jordan Peele, that seems to be changing. Peele’s breakout film “Get Out” garnered four nominations and win for best original screenplay at the 2018 Academy Awards. His new psychological thriller “US” premiered this month at the prestigious South by Southwest conference.

On this episode we dive into horror films like Peele’s “US”, and examine the changing role of black characters. 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:
Robin Means Coleman @MeansColeman
VP for Diversity, Texas A&M University

Rachel True @RachelTrue

Tananarive Due @TananariveDue
Executive Producer, Horror Noire

Read more: 
From Blacula to Get Out: the documentary examining black horror - The Guardian 
Horror Noire is a lively, essential history lesson - Vulture 

What do you think? Record a video comment or leave your thoughts in the comments below.