Robert Townsend's debut feature is an ingenious satirical landmark that takes riotous aim at the typecasting of Black actors in 1980s Hollywood.
Bobby Taylor (Townsend) is an actor and hot-dog stand employee dreaming of Hollywood success. After being cast as the lead role in the regrettably titled exploitation film ‘Jivetime Jimmy’s Revenge’, we enter Bobby’s head as he experiences a series of dreams satirising African American stereotypes in Hollywood. Feeling conflicted, he is forced to choose between accepting roles that open doors but ultimately degrade him, or turning down work with his principles intact.
Hilarious, subversive, and deeply thought-provoking, Hollywood Shuffle was a pioneering film that saw Townsend and countless others soar to success. Today it remains a powerful reminder of how far we’ve come, and how far we have to go.