Tag: Ruby Dee

BHM: Let’s Honor Oprah! Entrepreneur, Media Maven, Philanthropist, Actor, Influencer… Genius

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

Not many people on Earth have their names become synonymous with genius in their profession, let alone genius in general. Einstein, Shakespeare, Mozart, even Spielberg and Prince easily come to mind. Notably, they are all men, mostly White, and only one is known by his first name. But when you say, “Hey, where are the women? What women do you think of when someone says ‘Who are the geniuses?,'” an immediate response would (or should) be… Oprah.

It may seem like opinion, but I want to go on record that saying “Oprah Winfrey is a genius” is a fact, and one that should be touted widely. Oprah’s status as a cultural icon, media mogul and inspirational leader is taken as a given, but when you look back and reflect on her journey from rural poverty in Mississippi to global icon, you too will recognize how much intelligence, excellence and genius it took to get there and what’s more – stay there.

What follows below in regards to recognizable achievement, vision and success rightfully will only add credence to the “Oprah Winfrey is a genius” fact, but I submit that the secret sauce of Oprah’s claim to that title has been best articulated (and realized) by Oprah herself:

Everybody has a calling. And your real job in life is to figure out as soon as possible what that is, who you were meant to be, and to begin to honor that in the best way possible for yourself. – Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Gail Winfrey, originally named “Orpah” after the biblical figure in the Book of Ruth but had it misspelled and mispronounced so much that “Oprah”  stuck, recently celebrated her 65th birthday on January 29, 1954. Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, to Vernita Lee, an unmarried teenage mother and housemaid, and Vernon Winfrey, a coal miner turned barber turned city councilman who had been in the Armed Forces when Oprah was born.

According to wikipedia.org, Winfrey spent her first six years living with her maternal grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, who was so poor that Winfrey often wore dresses made of potato sacks, and the local children made fun of her. Her grandmother, ever in Oprah’s corner, taught her to read before the age of three and took her to church, where she was nicknamed “The Preacher” for her preternatural ability to recite Bible verses and command the stage.

Despite parental neglect from her mother, sexual abuse by family members from the age of nine, and the stillbirth of a son at age 14, Oprah’s intellect and ability to speak powerfully in public earned her a full ride to HBCU Tennessee State University on an Oratory Scholarship.

As Oprah honed her skills through education and experience, she became the youngest news anchor and the first black female news anchor at Nashville’s WLAC-TV. Oprah then became an anchor in the larger market of Baltimore, MD before taking over the hosting position of low-rated AM Chicago in 1984.

Oprah aligned her talents, smarts, professionalism and relatability to catapult her over Phil Donahue’s long-venerated talk show Donahue for the top-rated slot. Oprah then wisely took advice from movie critic Roger Ebert to make a syndication deal with King World Media and have ownership in her program – the beginning of the Oprah brand.

The Oprah Winfrey Show debuted September 8, 1986 and topped daytime talk show ratings for 25 years until she retired from the show. Oprah really hit her stride and pinpointed her brand when she followed her instincts in the 1990s to shift away from “tabloid-style” shows to ones with a focus on literature, self-improvement, mindfulness and spirituality. Even though she briefly took a ratings dip during the change, she soared to the top again and outlasted several popular talk show hosts of the time such as Sally Jesse Raphael, Ricki Lake, Montel Williams, Donahue, Jenny Jones, and Jerry Springer. Continue reading “BHM: Let’s Honor Oprah! Entrepreneur, Media Maven, Philanthropist, Actor, Influencer… Genius”

Ava DuVernay, Melissa Harris-Perry, Black Lives Matter & More to be Honored at Revolution Awards for Black History Month

2015-02-03-06-24-27.jpgHarlem-based cinema foundation ImageNation will honor the brightest entertainers and advocates who exude “Black Excellence” during the annual Revolution Awards, set to take place in New York next month.

The awards’ theme, eloquently titled Cocktails, Cinema & Revolutionwill honor famed director Ava DuVernay, MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-PerryBlack Lives Matter, and actor Hill Harper on Feb. 10.

ImageNation founder Moikgantsi Kgama shared her thoughts about how this year’s show will tie into Black History Month.

The Revolution Awards came to fruition in 2003, honoring the accomplishments of activists, actors, and artists who step outside the box to help improve Black and Latino communities. Past honorees and participants include Spike Lee, Congressman John Lewis, Erykah Badu, Lee DanielsTalib Kweli, and the late Ruby Dee.

“History is being made everyday. This event celebrates Black History Month by recognizing our most inspiring change agents while highlighting ImageNation’s newest monthly film program Cocktails & Cinema. I am looking forward to the Revolution Awards returning to an epic evening of honoring those who make a difference,” said Kgama.

In addition to the awards, the film 1982, starring Hill Harper, Sharon Leal, Wayne Brady, Troi Zee, La La Anthony and Ruby Dee, will be screened. The movie stars Harper as a father protecting his daughter from his wife’s battle with drug addiction.  Harper will also engage in a discussion of the film with director Tommy Oliver, image activist Michaela Angela Davis, and noted psychologist Dr. Jeff Gardere.

The event is open to the public. To find out how you can be part of the magic during Black History Month, get a ticket here and find out more about ImageNation’s 20-year legacy here.

article by Desire Thompson via newsone.com

Brooklyn Honors Spike Lee With “Do the Right Thing” Day

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Spike Lee’s breakthrough film “Do the Right Thing” put Brooklyn on the cinematic map, and now the city is returning the favor by declaring June 30 “Do the Right Thing Day.”

Brooklyn borough president Eric Adams made the proclamation on Tuesday, on the 25th anniversary of Lee’s seminal film. The celebration includes a block party this Saturday in Bedford-Stuyvesant, the neighborhood in which Do the Right Thing is set. On Sunday, Brooklyn’s BAMcinématek will kick off a 10-day retrospective of Lee’s films.
Check out our exclusive interview with Spike Lee right here.

“Many people don’t realize how profound and powerful the movie ‘Do the Right Thing’ actually was,” said Adams during the ceremony. “Spike created an image of Brooklyn that was beyond the headlines, beyond the stereotyping, beyond the negative images.”

The 1989 film, which was nominated for two Oscars, traced one hot day on a Bedford-Stuyvesant block as long-simmering racial tensions boil over and a cast of characters including Lee as Mookie and the late Ruby Dee as Mother Sister struggle to endure the rising mercury.

article by Evelyn Diaz via bet.com

R.I.P. Oscar-Nominated Acting Legend and Civil Rights Activist Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee
Ruby Dee, best known for her role in 1961’s “A Raisin in the Sun” and latterly for her Oscar-nominated turn as Denzel Washington’s mother in 2007’s “American Gangster,” died Wednesday in New York. She was 91.

Dee’s Oscar nomination in 2008 for her performance as the feisty mother of a Harlem druglord played by Washington in Ridley Scott’s “American Gangster” was particularly impressive because the actress made an impression on the Motion Picture Academy with only 10 minutes of screen time. She won a SAG Award for the same performance.  Dee also won an Emmy in 1991 for her performance in the “Hallmark Hall of Fame” movie “Decoration Day.”

She and her husband, Ossie Davis, who often performed together, were among the first generation of African-American actors, led by Sidney Poitier, afforded the opportunity for significant, dignified dramatic roles in films, onstage and on television.

Continue reading “R.I.P. Oscar-Nominated Acting Legend and Civil Rights Activist Ruby Dee”