February 8, 2020

For Black History Month, the Lucas Museum partnered with LACMA to present a screening of the 1978 classic, The Wiz, an extravagant reimagining of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Do the Right Thing, the 1989 American comedy-drama film produced, written, and directed by, and starring Spike Lee. More than 30 years after its release, Do the Right Thing maintains its relevance as a portrait of both the beauty and the pain of the black experience in America.

Film posters for The Wiz and Do the Right Thing

Presented in celebration of the Lucas Museum’s recent acquisition of Separate Cinema—a significant archive of ephemera related to African American film history, and LACMA’s landmark Betye Saar: Call and Response exhibition, this Black History Month film program explored how filmmakers engage with issues of race within the narrative of the "American dream."

The screening of The Wiz coincided with Melanin Market L.A., a regular pop-up market that features black-owned businesses and vendors. Guests also engaged in free family art-making stations at the market provided by LACMA and the Lucas Museum.

Lucas Museum staff at the art making booth

Following the screening of Do the Right Thing, author and archivist Jacqueline Stewart, professor of cinema and media studies at the University of Chicago, participated in a conversation with Ryan Linkof, curator of film at the Lucas Museum, about the portrayal of race within the history of cinema. Stewart made her own history recently when she was announced as the first African American host at Turner Classic Movies, where she leads the Silent Sunday Nights program.

Jacqueline Stewart and Ryan Linkof in conversation

This program was presented by the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).