About The Film

Red Hope? The Blacklisting of Hope Foye
(Her Story, Her Songs)

Synopsis:

Red Hope? The Blacklisting of Hope Foye immerses the viewer into the Senate chambers with Hope Foye and the McCarren Sub-committee of HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) during her interrogation in early 1950s. The film also captures the richness of Hope’s memories of “the times” while showing us images of the glamorous young singer, performance stills, and family photos, all of it bringing Foye and her early career to vivid life. Framing and defining many of her performances and interviews of today are her songs—pieces filled with the horror, tragedy, and melancholia of a racist past as well as the faith and hope for a better future. Every note of pain, every crescendo of triumph, rings out clearly in the compelling voice of Hope Foye. Hope is considered by many to be a national treasure.

Full Summary:

constance-with-audience
Constance L. Jackson, MPH is available for speaking and workshop engagements. For more info: email c.jackson@permproductions.com

Red Hope? The Blacklisting of Hope Foye explores the life of African American classical opera singer Hope Foye—her struggles for justice, for survival, and for her music. Red Hope immerses the viewer into the Senate chambers with Hope Foye and the McCarran Sub-committee of HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) during her interrogation in 1952. The documentary also captures the richness of Hope’s memories and of her today while showing images of the glamorous young singer, the times, performance stills, and family photos, all of it bringing Foye and her early career to vivid life. Framing and defining many of her performances and interviews of today are her songs—pieces filled with the horror, tragedy, and melancholia of a racist past as well as the faith and hope for a better future. Every note of pain, every crescendo of triumph, rings out clearly in the compelling voice of Hope Foye.

A member of People’s Artists, Foye mingled with activists committed to social justice, including performer Paul Robeson, scholar W.E.B. Du Bois, his wife, writer-composer Shirley Graham, and folk singer Pete Seeger. Graham and Robeson became Foye’s patrons and mentors. On protest platforms alongside Jews and Protestants, in the 1940s and early 1950s, Foye sang out against lynching and Jim Crow laws and supported labor unions that included African Americans and others who were denied access to basic human rights.

But seeking change was dangerous in the postwar McCarthy era, when protesters were condemned as communist spies. After Foye attended the World Youth Festival in East Berlin, Germany in 1951, the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Internal Security (known as the McCarran Subcommittee) subpoenaed her to appear before it. When she refused to answer questions, she was blacklisted, her career in America destroyed. With the support of Shirley Graham and Albert Maltz of the “Hollywood 10,” and with her two small daughters in tow, Foye moved to Mexico to pursue her singing career and train as a soprano opera singer. Here she eventually became the first Black female musical star on Mexican television. Ten years later she went to Europe to further her training in classical voice and performance. Overshadowing all her accomplishments, however, was the continuing reality of living on a limited income.

Red Hope evokes an era when African Americans battled daily for respect and basic rights within established structures that destroyed American lives without a second thought. Hope is considered by many to be a national treasure.

Narrated by Keith David. Runtime 78 minutes. US DVD Format. Closed caption

panAfricanFilmFest-blk