The 1975 film Mahogany destabilizes its portrayal of successful black femininity by interjecting a subtle narrative of national, familial, and racial normalcy. In what could be a retelling of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s infamous report on the black family, the film pathologizes the heroine’s visual knowledge and professional success as a model, halts her accomplishments in Europe, and returns her to the United States. Because Mahogany emphasizes image production and circulation, and because the film reflects specific historical, political, and cultural issues that affected the United States in the 1970s, it offers an opportunity to revisit previous feminist analyses of the film and to examine the importance of visual knowledge in post–civil rights black culture.


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