Showcasing Black actors in foreign cinema

When Floyd Webb was 20 years old, he left his hometown of Chicago to go live abroad. It was 1974 and also the spark of a decades-long journey of traveling to over 50 countries. And as he did so, there was one constant: movies.

Webb went to the movies every place he went, he explains, and through that travel, the vast number of films with Black actors came into view.

“I had access to film programs, like at the [National] Film Theater, on the South Bank in London, and they would have films in the afternoon,” Webb says. “I worked in that area and I used to walk over there to watch films. And suddenly. . . I started discovering Black actors who turned up in foreign films.”

And for Webb, this discovery was huge because growing up, he didn’t see many Black actors. It’s why Sidney Poitier—as one of the most famous actors of all time—became a beacon of light for Black film. The first Black man to win a competitive Oscar, Poitier rejected roles that were stereotypical and paved the way for other Black actors. But of course, sadly, there were not many Black actors in his position.

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