Ira Frederick Aldridge was the first black actor to play Othello. Born in New York in 1807, he emigrated to England at 17 where he began his Shakespearean career. At the London Royal Theatre in 1826, Aldridge became the first black Othello, as opposed to the custom of the time to put white actors in blackface. In addition to Othello, Aldridge also played many other lead roles, including:
Macbeth in Macbeth
Richard III in Richard III
London during this time was the epicenter of the pro-slavery movement in England, and Aldridge faced many trials because of it. He recieved scathing remarks in newspaper reviews. One, the Atheneum objected to his performance on stage with actress Ellen Tree (playing Desdemona) saying that she was being “pawed about on the stage by a black man.” After a series of 11 performances at the Surrey Theatre, he was described in a press report as an “unseemly nigger.”
While ostracized in London, Aldridge was able to find fame outside of the capital. He was praised for his work in Manchester, Sheffield, Newcastle and Liverpool; he also gained international fame by touring Ireland, Berlin, and St. Petersburg, among other cities.
Following a performance in Russia in 1863, French poet and novelist Théophile Gautier noted that Aldridge’s performance was “Othello himself, as Shakespeare has created him…quiet, reserved, classic and majestic.”
Aldridge died in August of 1867 and was given a state funeral.
(information gathered from arogundade.com)
(more information can be found here)
But no black ppl in Europe doe
Kyle Thompson - Graveyard Girls (2013)
I’ve been in Tennessee with my friend Marissa Bolen. Yesterday we planned a huge shoot which involved building a dam, and covering models with flour and milky water. It was a group effort. You can see her shots here, you should follow her!
“some historians think that michelangelo was drawing god in a human brain. very few people knew what one looked like at the time; but michelangelo had dissected cadavers and would have known. it even has the hint of a brain stem. if true this would have been a great “fuck you” to the pope whom he was not friendly with but also would have meant god was in a human brain, or created by man.”
also michelangelo painted a baby angel flipping off the pope
the blond one, you see his right hand? that’s called the fig and it’s an old world european gesture for ‘fuck you” because apparently Pope Juluis II was a total raging asshole and everyone hated him
but nobody ever noticed this little fucker because the ceiling was so high
and then thirty years later they called michelangelo back to paint the wall behind the altar and he wasted no time in painting the gates of hell behind the pope’s chair
what a badass
It amuses me to this day how much Michelangelo hated his job
He was like the Renaissance Robert Pattinson