The women on Lafayette NIA: A Sisterhood held a screening of “Carmen Jones” in the Limburg Theatre as part of their “Black Women In Power” week.
The film, directed and produced by Otto Preminger, is the screen adaptation of the 1943 Broadway musical with the same name. The leading lady, Carmen Jones, was played by the African-American actress Dorothy Dandridge.
It went on to win two Golden Globe Awards, and earn Dandridge a nomination at the 1955 Academy Awards. Dandridge went down in history for her Oscar nomination because she was the first African-American actress to be nominated for “Best Actress In A Leading Role.”
President of NIA Imani Ford ’18 said that NIA chose to screen “Carmen Jones” because of Dandridge’s award-winning performance as a powerful woman of color.
“I chose the movie because it’s an older film which makes it lesser known [and because of] the star of the film — she was the first black woman to be nominated for an Oscar. The theme for NIA for Black History Month was women of color in power … I feel like the star of the film is a woman in power and … the character, is a woman of color in power,” she said.
Ford said that there was a list of other films that include: Princess and the Frog (2009) and 13th (2016), in consideration for the screening. The members of NIA narrowed down the list, and then took the remainders to a vote. Films that broke records and had big impacts were prioritized.
She said that the films they choose are not necessarily more important than others, she just wanted Lafayette to appreciate the history of Carmen Jones.
“She’s so beautiful, take away the beauty of her and the beauty of the film and the different ways art and history can be interpreted through culture because “Carmen Jones” is a very important piece of black culture or African American culture, I like to say … I’d like [Lafayette] to take that away from it.”