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TheGrio Keeping Black History Alive is a series that delves into the rich tapestry of Black history, both past and present, to shine a spotlight on often overlooked gems and unsung heroes. From the iconic “Negro Kiss” to the revolutionary impact of Sesame Street, and the trailblazing achievements of contemporary figures like Marques Brownlee and Jackie Aina, each episode unveils a compelling chapter of Black experience.

The First “Negro Kiss” on Film

Feb. 29, 2024 – 01:38 – For Black History Month, TheGrio is Keeping Black History Alive by showcasing the vast contributions of Black pioneers in art, cinema, television, and theater. “Something Good – Negro Kiss,” the earliest depiction of black intimacy on film. “Something Good – Negro Kiss” is the first known film footage the features African Americans showing intimacy. Shot in 1898, it shows two vaudeville performers, Gertie Brown and Saint Suttle, enact a scene of courtship. For audiences, this was quite daring and bold. During that time, you could only experience Black performers through minstrel shows. The scene is a playful exchange that resembles Thomas Edison’s The Kiss, an 1896 film that frequently played at the end of movies. Negro Kiss offered audiences a parallel to Edison’s “The Kiss” in a way that also introduced Black people to new heights of visibility and performance. The footage was discovered in 2017 at the University of Southern California and added into the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry because of its cultural, historic and aesthetic importance to the nation’s film heritage. This powerful moment in early film shows that Black people have been a part of American cinema since the beginning. #KeepingBlackHistoryAlive

Keeping Black History Alive

The First

The First “Negro Kiss” on Film

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