Monthly Archives: June 2008

GRAND JURY CLEARS JOE HORN IN CONTROVERSIAL PASADENA SHOOTINGS

04:36 PM CDT on Monday, June 30, 2008

By Michelle Homer & Rucks Russell / 11 News

 
HOUSTON — The Pasadena man who shot and killed two suspected burglars last November was no-billed by a Harris County grand jury Monday.
 
Horn’s attorney, Tom Lambright, first heard the news in a phone call from 11 News.
“I’m sure Joe will be delighted,” Lambright said. He said he planned to call Horn immediately.
 
He said Horn is very grateful to the people who supported him and stood behind him.
“The message that the grand jury sent today is frightening,” said community activist Quanell X.
 
Horn testified before the jurors for about 90 minutes on Friday before he was escorted out of the courtroom in secret.
The fiancé of one of the men Horn killed was hoping for a different outcome.
“He shouldn’t have shot those men. He shot them in the back,” Stephany Storey said Friday. “I think he should see jail time. He should be behind bars.”
Storey had hoped to make that point before the grand jury, but she was turned away.
The grand jury had been on the case for two weeks, working through the details of an incident that garnered national attention.
“In this case, the grand jury concluded that Mr. Horn’s use of deadly force did not rise to a criminal offense,” said Harris County District Attorney Kenneth Magidson.
 
Horn maintains that he shot the men in self-defense. An autopsy report indicated that both men were shot in the back.
Tom Lambright
Joe Horn
 
 
Police later said the two illegal immigrants, Hernando Torres and Diego Ortiz, were believed to be part of an organized home burglary ring out of Colombia.
 
Horn called 911 to report two men had broken into his neighbor’s house.
 
During the 911 call, the operator repeatedly warned Horn to stay inside.
 
“I’ve got a shotgun do you want me to stop ‘em?” Horn asked.
 
“Nope don’t do that. Ain’t no property worth shooting somebody over OK?,” the Pasadena dispatcher said as he called out officers to the scene.
 
“I’ll be honest with you, I’m not gonna let ‘em go, I’m not gonna let them get away with this (expletive),” he told the dispatcher.
KHOU-TV
Things turned ugly when protesters clashed outside of Horn’s house late last year.
 
 
Then a short time later: “I can’t take a chance on getting killed over this. I’m gonna shoot. I’m gonna shoot.”
 
 
Horn can be heard telling the suspects, “You’re dead,” followed by a loud boom.
 
Lambright, who has known Horn for decades, said his client is normally a quiet, humble man and his behavior that day was out of character.
 
The shooting ignited a national debate about the use of deadly force in protecting property.
 
Many of Horn’s neighbors supported his actions, while some community activists have condemned him as a gun-toting vigilante.
 
 

 

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

13 MYTHS ABOUT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

 

13 Myths About Affirmative Action: A Special Series on a Public Policy Under Siege
This 13- part series provides listeners with a guided tour of the current controversy about affirmative action. Each installment in this sequential series is structured to explore a widely held belief or assertion about affirmative action. Upon closer inspection, each belief is shown to be false, distorted, or unsupported by the evidence. As each belief is revealed to be a myth and debunked, the ensuing discussion re-analyzes the issue by offering information, research, and personal accounts from a range of commentators, including academics, activists and every day citizens. The series was premiered on the Michael Eric Dyson Show and was written and produced in collaboration with Kimberle Williams Crenshaw and the African American Policy Forum. This series is a project of the Affirmative Action Research and Policy Consortium, a project of the African American Policy Forum.

 

Beyond the show

  1. Contribute your story. Speak out about Affirmative Action. Click here

  2. Meet the guests who participated in this exciting radio series with Michael Eric Dyson & Kimberle Crenshaw HERE

  3. View the web production team HERE.

The partnership between AAPF and The Michael Eric Dyson Show was a great success! Dr. Michael Eric Dyson had this to say:

As a native Detroiter, I feel a strong obligation to combat the profound misinformation about affirmative action and the quest for racial and social justice. The forces of regression must not prove more determined or prepared than are the forces for good. I am thrilled to join with the nation’s leading expert on questions of affirmative action and their legal and political implications, Kimberle Crenshaw, in analyzing the crucial issues at hand in Michigan. This is a critical juncture, and we at The Michael Eric Dyson Show are eager to join the fight for justice on this critical battleground.

 

 

 

Please visit us at  http://www.aapf.org/focus

 

 

 

FOCUS ON AFFIRMATIVE ACTION:  A PROJECT OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN POLICY FORUM

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

THE BLACK WOMEN’S EXPO: AUGUST 1-3, 2008

 

http://www.theblackwomensexpo.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

IN REMEMBRANCE: 6-29-2008

LT. COL. CHARLES “CHUCK” DRYDEN, PIONEERING MEMBER OF WW II TUSKEGEE AIRMEN
 
 
     
Lt. Charles Dryden, left, prepares for a WWII mission.
1943 HANDOUT PHOTO/AP
 
photos
 

Lt. Colonel Charles “Chuck” Dryden
 
 
June 26, 2008, 8:51PM


 

 

— Charles “Chuck” Dryden
 
ATLANTA (AP) — Lt. Col. Charles “Chuck” Dryden, one of the first of the pioneering black World War II pilots known as the Tuskegee Airmen, has died. He was 87.
 
Dryden died Tuesday in Atlanta of natural causes, said a spokesman for the National Museum of Patriotism in Atlanta. Dryden was on the museum’s board of directors.
 
Dryden’s 21-year military career included combat missions in Korea and assignments in Japan, Germany and U.S. bases. He retired from the Air Force in 1962.
 
Dryden was selected for aviation cadet training as part of a segregated Army Air Corps unit at Tuskegee Army Flying School in Alabama in August 1941, only a month after the program began and four months before the U.S. entered World War II.
 
Dryden’s P-40 airplane was nicknamed “A-Train,” and he titled his autobiography “A-Train: Memoirs of a Tuskegee Airman,” published in 1997.
 
In March 2007, Dryden and some 300 surviving members of the Tuskegee Airmen gathered in Washington to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.
 
Dryden earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Hofstra University and a master’s degree in public law and government from Columbia University. He was also a professor of air science at Howard University.
 
 
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
GORDON E. BOATWRIGHT OF NASA WHOSE NAME IS ON THE MOON
 
 
June 26, 2008, 10:13PM

NASA worker and others etched their monikers on the flagstaff used
Gordon E. Boatright, who helped build components for the Gemini and Apollo space programs as a NASA employee and who served on two ships in the Pacific in World War II, has died from cancer in an Abilene hospital. He was 87.
 
Boatright helped fabricate items for astronauts, including the standard used to plant the American flag on the first lunar mission, family members said.
 
“His name is actually on the moon. He and a bunch of other guys chemically etched their names on the flagstaff that was taken up there and poked into the ground,” his son, Rolan Boatright, said.
 
He was born in San Angelo on April 13, 1921, to Ernest and Birtie Payne Boatright. Rolan Boatright said his father quit high school and joined the U.S. Navy. Boatright served on the USS Chicago, a heavy cruiser in several battles and campaigns during the early months of the war in the Pacific, his son said.
 
Boatright was then assigned to the destroyer USS Mullany, said his son-in-law, Sam Rapp. The Mullany was severely damaged on April 6, 1945, off the coast of Okinawa when a strafing Japanese aircraft crashed into the vessel. The impact caused horrible damage, killed 21 sailors and forced the remaining crew to abandon ship.
 
Boatright was rescued by another ship and eventually reboarded the Mullany, and the crew saved the destroyer from sinking, said Rapp.
 
After the war, Boatright married Nancy Berger, and the couple eventually settled in southeast Houston.
 
Boatright worked several jobs before joining NASA in the mid-1960s. He also worked on the handheld propulsion unit used by astronauts in early spacewalks, his son said.
 
“And he helped build various components on the lunar rover,” he said. He retired from NASA in 1986.
 
Boatright, who died June 9, was preceded in death by his first wife.
 
He is survived by his second wife, Flo Boatright; daughter Joy McKelroy and her husband, Girard; daughter Marsha Rapp and her husband, Sam; son Rolan Boatright and his wife, Linda; stepson Garay Holland and his wife, Pat; stepson Jerald Holland and his wife, Joan; and sister Ernestine Scott. Survivors also include six grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, six step-grandchildren and 17 step-great-grandchildren.
 
A memorial service will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at the South Park Funeral Home, 1310 N. Main in Pearland.
 
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
DOLORES AGUILAR,  ACCOUNTANT WHO LOVED TO TEACH
 
Dolores Aguilar, former director of drum and bugle corps Sam Houston High School and CPA.
Family Photo
 
photos
 
June 27, 2008, 11:18PM

The former Houstonettes director later became a CPA
Dolores Aguilar, a teacher and director of the drum and bugle corps at Sam Houston High School who later had a career as a certified public accountant, died Tuesday of liver cancer at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She was 65.
 
“She loved teaching,” said her sister, Becky Aguilar of Houston. Even as a CPA, she said, “Dolores taught accounting to the young ones who were just coming on board.”
 
Aguilar was “good at everything” in school, but had a special affinity for mathematics, including algebra and trigonometry, her sister said.
 
Dolores Brett Aguilar was born in Houston on Oct. 25, 1942, the daughter of William J. Aguilar and Rebecca Brett Aguilar. She attended Sherman Elementary and Marshall Middle schools and graduated from Jefferson Davis High School. In 1964, she earned a degree in education from the University of St. Thomas.
 
Aguilar joined Sam Houston High in the 1960s as a teacher of English and Spanish. She became associated with the drum and bugle corps, the Houstonettes, a few years later, her sister said.
 
Aguilar was the Houstonettes’ director for 15 years, but after witnessing a fight between students in the school cafeteria, she decided to pursue a career in accounting, her sister said.
 
Aguilar then continued her education at the University of St. Thomas and became a CPA in 1985. In the same year, she joined American General Insurance Co., where she stayed for 27 years, attaining the rank of senior investment accountant.
 
In 2006, Aguilar joined Service Corporation International, where she worked as manager of benefits accounting until earlier this year.
 
“She was a friendly and caring person who inspired all those around her,” said Jacque Johnson, a colleague at SCI. “Dolores approached life with strength, determination and courage. She touched the hearts of everyone who knew her.”
 
A friend from undergraduate days at St. Thomas, Dorothy Belinoski of Houston, said Aguilar seldom talked about herself. For example, Belinoski said, she didn’t know about Aguilar’s work with the Houstonettes until after her death.
 
In addition to Becky Aguilar, survivors include her mother, Rebecca Brett Aguilar of Houston; and cousins Gloria Mireles of Houston, Armond Brett of Tulsa, Okla., Raymond Barroso of Kinder, La., and Joe Brett of San Antonio.
 
A funeral Mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. today at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, 6800 Buffalo Speedway. Burial will be in Forest Park Lawndale Cemetery, 6900 Lawndale.
 
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
GEORGE CARLIN, COMIC WHO CHAFED AT SOCIETY AND ITS CONSTRAINTS
 
 
 
Published: June 24, 2008
Correction Appended
 
George Carlin, whose astringent stand-up comedy made him an heir of Lenny Bruce, who gave voice to an indignant counterculture and assaulted the barricades of censorship on behalf of a generation of comics that followed him, died on Sunday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 71 and lived in Venice, Calif.
 
 
 
June 23, 2008    
George Carlin, Irreverent Comedian, Is Dead

NBC, via Associated Press

George Carlin served as host of the “Saturday Night Live” debut in 1975. More Photos »
 
 
 
June 23, 2008    
George Carlin, Splenetic Comedian, Dies at 71

Vincent Laforet/The New York Times

George Carlin at the Rihga Royal Hotel in Manhattan in 2004. More Photos >
 
 

The cause was heart failure, said his publicist, Jeff Abraham. Mr. Carlin, who performed earlier this month at the Orleans hotel in Las Vegas, had a history of heart problems.
 
“By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth,” read a message on Mr. Carlin’s Web site, GeorgeCarlin.com, and he spent much of his life in a fervent effort to counteract the forces that would have it so. In his always irreverent, often furious social commentary, in his observations of the absurdities of everyday life and language, and in groundbreaking routines like the profane “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” he took aim at what he thought of as the palliating and obfuscating agents of American life — politicians, advertisements, religion, the media and conventional thinking of all stripes.
 
“If crime fighters fight crime and firefighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight?” he asked in a 1980s routine, taking a jab at the Reagan administration’s defense of the Nicaraguan Contras.
 
During a career that spanned five decades, Mr. Carlin emerged as one of the most popular, durable, productive and versatile comedians of his era. He evolved from Jerry Seinfeld-like whimsy and a buttoned-down decorum in the ’60s to counterculture hero in the ’70s.
 
By the ’80s, he was known as a scathing social critic, wringing laughs from the verbal tics of contemporary language like the oxymoron “jumbo shrimp” (and finding another oxymoron in the term “military intelligence”) and poking fun at pervasive national attitudes. He used the ascent of football’s popularity at the expense of the game he loved, baseball, to make the point that societal innocence had been lost forever.
 
“Baseball is a 19th-century pastoral game,” he said. “Football is a 20th-century technological struggle. Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park. The baseball park! Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.”
 
Through the 1990s and into the 21st century, Mr. Carlin, balding but still pony-tailed, prowled the stage — eyes ablaze with intensity — as the comedy circuit’s most splenetic curmudgeon, raging over the shallowness of a “me first” culture; mocking the infatuation with camcorders, hyphenated names and sneakers with lights on them; lambasting white guys over 10 years old who wear their baseball hats backwards, baby boomers “who went from ‘do your thing’ to ‘just say no’ ” and “from cocaine to Rogaine”; and foes of abortion rights. “How come when it’s us it’s an abortion,” he asked, “and when it’s a chicken it’s an omelet?”
 
George Denis Carlin was born in New York City on May 12, 1937. His mother, Mary, a secretary, separated from his father when he was an infant, and he grew up with his mother and his older brother, Patrick, on West 121st Street in Manhattan.
 
“I grew up in New York wanting to be like those funny men in the movies and on the radio,” Mr. Carlin said. “My grandfather, mother and father were gifted verbally, and my mother passed that along to me. She always made sure I was conscious of language and words.”
 
He dropped out of high school and joined the Air Force, and while stationed in Shreveport, La., he worked as a radio disc jockey. Discharged in 1957, he moved to Boston for a radio announcer’s job, then to Fort Worth, where he was a D.J.
 
Along the way he met Jack Burns, a newscaster and comedian. They worked together in Fort Worth and Los Angeles, performing on the radio and in clubs and even appearing on “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar. The comedian Mort Sahl, whose penchant for social commentary Mr. Carlin came to share, dubbed them “a duo of hip wits.”
 
Still, the Carlin-Burns team was only moderately successful, and, in 1960, Mr. Carlin struck out on his own.
 
He made his first television solo guest appearance on “The Tonight Show” in 1962, in the interim between Paar’s departure and Johnny Carson’s arrival; the host that night was Mr. Sahl. His second wasn’t until 1965, when he made the first of 29 appearances on “The Merv Griffin Show.”
 
At that time, he was primarily known for his clever wordplay and reminiscences of his Irish working-class upbringing in New York. But there were intimations of an anti-establishment edge. It surfaced, for example, in a parody of television newscasts, for which he invented characters like Al Sleet, “the “hippy-dippy weatherman”: “Tonight’s forecast: Dark. Continued mostly dark tonight turning to widely scattered light in the morning.”
 
Mr. Carlin released his first comedy album, “Take-Offs and Put-Ons,” to rave reviews in 1967. He also dabbled in acting, winning a recurring part as Marlo Thomas’s theatrical agent in the 1960s sitcom “That Girl” and a supporting role in the 1968 movie “With Six You Get Eggroll.” He made more than 80 major television appearances during that time, including on the Ed Sullivan Show and Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show”; he was also regularly featured at nightclubs in New York and Las Vegas.
 
He was one of America’s most popular comedians, but as the convulsive decade of 1960s ended, he’d had enough of what he considered a dinky and hollow success.
 
“I was entertaining the fathers and the mothers of the people I sympathized with, and in some cases associated with, and whose point of view I shared,” he recalled later, as quoted in the book “Going Too Far” by Tony Hendra (Doubleday, 1987). “I was a traitor, in so many words. I was living a lie.”
 
In 1970, Mr. Carlin staged a remarkable reversal of field, discarding his suit and tie, as well as the relatively conventional and clean-cut material that had catapulted him to the top. He reinvented himself, emerging with a beard, long hair, jeans and a routine steeped in drugs and insolence. A backlash followed; in one famous incident, he was advised to leave town when an angry audience threatened him at the Playboy Club in Lake Geneva, Wis., for joking about the Vietnam War. Afterward, he temporarily abandoned nightclubs for coffee houses and colleges, where he found a younger, hipper audience that was more attuned to both his new image and his material.
 
 
 
June 23, 2008    
George Carlin, Splenetic Comedian, Dies at 71

David G. Massey/The Lima News, via Associated Press

George Carlin in Lima, Ohio, in 2003. More Photos >

Multimedia

 
 
 
June 23, 2008    
George Carlin, the Comedian, Dies at 71

Michael J. Okoniewski for The New York Times

George Carlin at the Shea’s Theatre in Buffalo in 2005. More Photos >
 
 
 
June 23, 2008    
George Carlin, Splenetic Comedian, Dies at 71

Michael J. Okoniewski for The New York Times

George Carlin at Shea’s Buffalo Theater in 2005. More Photos >
 
 
 

By 1972, when he released his second album, “FM & AM,” his star was again on the rise. The album, which won a Grammy Award as best comedy recording, combined older material with his newer, more acerbic routines.
 
One, from “Class Clown,” Mr. Carlin’s third album, became part of his “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television,” with its rhythmic recitation of obscenities. It was broadcast on the New York radio station WBAI. Acting on a complaint about the broadcast, the Federal Communications Commission issued an order prohibiting the words as “indecent.” In 1978, the Supreme Court upheld the order, establishing a decency standard that remains in effect; it ensnared Howard Stern in 2005, precipitating his move to satellite radio.
 
Mr. Carlin refused to drop the bit and was arrested several times after reciting it onstage.
 
By the mid-’70s, like his comic predecessor Lenny Bruce and the fast-rising Richard Pryor, Mr. Carlin had emerged as a cultural renegade. In addition to his jests about religion and politics, he talked about using drugs, including LSD and peyote; he kicked cocaine, he said, not for moral or legal reasons but because he found “far more pain in the deal than pleasure.”
 
Three of Mr. Carlin’s comedy albums of the 1970’s — “Class Clown,” “Occupation: Foole” and “An Evening With Wally Lambo” — sold more than a million copies. In 1975, he was chosen to host the first episode of the late-night comedy show “Saturday Night Live.” And two years later, he found the perfect platform for his stinging and cerebral, if sometimes off-color, humor in the fledgling world of cable television: the first of his 14 HBO comedy specials, “George Carlin at U.S.C.” was aired in 1977, the last, “George Carlin: It’s Bad for Ya,” in March.
 
During the course of his career, Mr. Carlin overcame numerous personal trials. His early arrests for obscenity (all of which were dismissed) and his problem with cocaine were the most publicized. But he also weathered serious tax problems, a heart attack and two open-heart surgeries; his health problems cost him five years of productivity between 1977 and 1982. Though he had been able to taper his cocaine use on his own, he said, he continued to abuse alcohol and also became addicted to Vicodin. In December 2004 he entered a rehabilitation center.
 
“Stand-up is the centerpiece of my life, my business, my art, my survival and my way of being,” Mr. Carlin once told an interviewer. And while it did always take center stage in his career, Mr. Carlin also acted in films, among them “Car Wash” (1976), “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” (1989), “The Prince of Tides” (1991), and “Dogma” (1999).
 
He also wrote books, expansions on his comedy routines, including “Brain Droppings” (1997), “Napalm & Silly Putty (2001) and “When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?” (2004), all published by Hyperion. A 1994 sitcom, “The George Carlin Show,” lasted a single season. He also did a stint narrating the children’s television show “Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.”
 
Mr. Carlin won a total of four Grammy Awards. He was recently named the recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which he was to receive in November at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington. The Kennedy Center said Monday that the prize would be given posthumously and that the evening would be a tribute to his life and work.
 
In addition to his brother, Patrick, Mr. Carlin is survived by his wife, Sally Wade, and a daughter, Kelly Carlin McCall. His first wife, Brenda Hosbrook, died in 1997.
 
Mr. Carlin’s most recent work was especially contentious, even bitter, full of ranting against the stupid, the fat, the docile. But he defended the material, insisting that his comedy had always been driven by an intolerance for the shortcomings of humanity and society.
“Scratch any cynic,” he said, “and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.”
 
Anahad O’Connor contributed reporting.
 
 
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 25, 2008
Because of an editing error, an obituary on Tuesday about the comedian George Carlin misstated the location of the Playboy Club where he angered an audience by joking about the Vietnam War. It was Lake Geneva, Wis. (There is no town named Lake Geneva in New York.)
 
SOURCE:  The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
IRA TUCKER, GOSPEL SINGER WHO GAVE DIXIE HUMMINGBIRDS EMOTIVE EDGE
 
 
Published: June 26, 2008
Correction Appended
 
 
Ira Tucker, a little man with a giant vocal range and acrobatic stage antics who as lead singer of the Dixie Hummingbirds helped propel gospel music toward a harder-edged, more emotive style, died on Tuesday in Philadelphia. He was 83.
 
 
 
June 26, 2008    

Jack Vartoogian

Ira Tucker, far left, joined the Dixie Hummingbirds as a teenager. The group performed at Symphony Space in 1995, above, with Carl Davis, second from left, Paul Owens and Howard Carroll.

Multimedia

The cause was heart failure, his son, Ira Jr., said, adding that he had earlier suffered two major heart attacks.
 
According to publicity material from 1950, Mr. Tucker joined what became one of the longest-lasting groups in gospel music when he was 14. Other sources say he joined in 1938 at 13. In any case, he never left.
 
At its peak in the 1940s and ’50s, the group was one of gospel’s most popular and innovative, using shouting lead parts and walking basslines in songs like “Thank You for One More Day,” “Trouble in My Way” and “Bedside of a Neighbor.” The back-and-forth singing of Mr. Tucker and another tenor, James Walker, is legendary.
 
In the 1970s the Hummingbirds attained a new and different sort of popularity when they backed up Paul Simon on his hit “Loves Me Like a Rock,” then recorded the same tune themselves and won a Grammy.
 
Mr. Tucker was a tenor when he started, moved on to baritone and sometimes eased into a rumbling bass. His scream, though, was his defining characteristic: it originated far back in this throat and issued forth at a high register in perfect pitch. He then returned to the baritone range without missing a beat or lyric.
 
Mr. Tucker added fire to the group’s performances. With a style borrowed from Southern preachers, he wailed, hollered and gesticulated in what today sounds like a precursor to James Brown.
 
It is hard to gauge how much influence one musician truly has on another, but many articles suggest that Mr. Tucker’s highly stylized singing may have inspired Jackie Wilson, Stevie Wonder, the Drifters, Hank Ballard and the Temptations.
 
Mr. Tucker had no doubt of his power to inspire. His son remembered him recently listening to a Sly Stone record and smiling broadly at an idiosyncratic inflection. “They heard my old records,” he said.
 
Anthony Heilbut, an author, producer and expert on gospel and other music, called Mr. Tucker “the presiding intelligence” of gospel quartet music.
 
Jerry Zolten, an associate professor at Penn State Altoona and author of a book on the Hummingbirds, termed Mr. Tucker “one of the top echelon of gospel lead vocalists who inspired others to sing like him.”
 
Aside from Michael Jackson, few performers showed as much eagerness to emulate the way Mr. Tucker flung himself from the stage, ripped off his coat, ran down the aisles and finally wilted to his knees in prayer.
 
“I was blessed,” Mr. Tucker said in an interview with The Salt Lake Tribune in 2004. “I never did hurt myself doing it.”
 
Ira B. Tucker was born on May 17, 1925, in Spartanburg, S.C., with a middle initial that stood for nothing. He sang at local tea parties, and at 13 or 14 he approached James Davis, who had started the group that became the Hummingbirds in Greenville, S.C., in 1928 when he was 12. Mr. Tucker told Mr. Davis that he would walk the 29 miles back to Spartanburg if he failed the audition.
 
“I’ve been with them ever since,” he said in an interview with The Independent Weekly of Durham, N.C. At the beginning he made $3 or $4 a week.
 
Mr. Heilbut disputed reports that Mr. Tucker made records in 1939. He said that the first performance in which Mr. Tucker could be heard as an individual came in 1944, on a record called “Book of the Seven Seals.” (The record labeled it “Seven Seas.”)
 
Calling Mr. Tucker’s singing suave and elegant, Mr. Heilbut marveled, “He’s about ready to be Billy Eckstine,” referring to the ballad singer and bandleader.
 
In 1942 the group was featured at the New York nightclub Cafe Society, where Lester Young, the saxophonist, was also playing. A decade later the group performed regularly at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. Their appearance at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival was another high mark.
 
The Hummingbirds recorded most prolifically and successfully in the 1950s, for Peacock Records. Their Peacock songs included “Let’s Go Out to the Program” and “In the Morning.” In 2002 an album including several songs by the Hummingbirds, a compilation of gospel music by Thomas A. Dorsey and others, was the first gospel album to be placed on the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress.
 
In addition to his son, who lives in Deptford, N.J., Mr. Tucker is survived by his wife of 66 years, the former Louise Eleanor Archie; his daughters Sundray Tucker of Philadelphia, who sings and writes songs under the name Cindy Scott, and Lynda Laurence of Los Angeles, a post-Diana Ross member of the Supremes; five grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
The Dixie Hummingbirds are scheduled to perform at the Prospect Park Bandshell on Thursday night at 7:30 as part of the Celebrate Brooklyn! series. Mr. Tucker’s son said that they still planned to appear.
 
The Hummingbirds are known for a joyful sound that adds humor to gospel. Their hit “Christian Automobile” sounds like a car shifting gears and climbing a heavenly hill.
 
The day before he died, his son said, Mr. Tucker tried to sing and could not. So he said he was going to switch careers and become a comedian, and spent the rest of the day cracking jokes.
 
 
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 28, 2008
An obituary on Thursday about Ira Tucker, the innovative lead singer of the Dixie Hummingbirds gospel quartet, misstated his relationship to two survivors. Sundray Tucker and Lynda Laurence are his daughters, not his sisters. The obituary also paraphrased incorrectly from a comment by Anthony Heilbut, an expert on gospel music , about Mr. Tucker’s standing in the genre. Mr. Heilbut said Mr. Tucker was “the presiding intelligence” of gospel quartet music, a subgenre — not of gospel music over all.
 
 
SOURCE:  The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
WILBER HARDEE, FOUNDED RESTAURANTS
 
 
Published: June 26, 2008
 
 
Wilber Hardee, a farm boy turned grill cook who went on to open the first Hardee’s hamburger stand in 1960, starting a chain that now has nearly 2,000 restaurants in the United States and overseas, died Friday at his home in Greenville, N.C. He was 89.
 
 
 
Hardee’s Food Systems, via Associated Press
Wilber Hardee in 2001.
 
 

The cause was a heart attack, his daughter Ann Hardee Riggs said.
 
It was on an empty lot in Greenville, near East Carolina College (now a university), that Mr. Hardee opened that first hamburger stand on Sept. 3, 1960. There was no dining room, no drive-up window. Charcoal-broiled hamburgers and milkshakes sold for 15 cents apiece.
 
There are now 1,926 Hardee’s restaurants, mostly in the Southeast and the Midwest, most of them franchises of CKE Restaurants, which bought the Hardee’s chain in 1997. Last year, the Hardee’s division, which specializes in Thickburgers weighing from one-third to two-thirds of a pound and costing up to $4.49, had revenue of $1.8 billion.
 
Although he would hold an interest in more than 80 other restaurants during his career, Mr. Hardee did not make much of a profit as founder of the chain that bears his name. He sold his share in what was then a five-franchise operation in 1963, for $37,000.
 
“Back in the ’60s, it was pretty good money,” Ann Hardee Riggs said, “but not that much.”
Born in Martin County, N.C., on Aug. 15, 1918, Mr. Hardee was one of five children of Henry and Mary Hardee. Not interested in the family corn and tobacco farm, the young Mr. Hardee got a job as a grill cook at a local eatery. In World War II, he was a Navy cook in the Pacific. While home on furlough in 1945, he married Kathryn Roebuck.
 
Mr. Hardee’s first wife died in 1980. In 1986, he married Helen Galloway.
 
In addition to his daughter Ann, Mr. Hardee is survived by his second wife; two daughters from his first marriage, Mary Baker and Becky Eissens; a stepdaughter, Patricia Phelps; eight grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
 
After World War II, Mr. Hardee returned to Greenville and opened a restaurant; he and his wife lived in the back. By 1960, when he opened his first hamburger stand, Mr. Hardee already owned 15 restaurants.
 
He took on two partners, Jim Gardner and Leonard Rawls, in 1961. They opened a second Hardee’s, in Rocky Mount, N.C. But difficulties with his partners soon led him to sell his share. Mr. Hardee later started another hamburger chain, called Little Mint, which eventually had about 25 franchised locations in North and South Carolina.
 
The Hardee’s chain grew by leaps and bounds in the 1970s, helped in part by its jingle: “Hurry on down to Hardee’s, where the burgers are charco-broiled.”
 
Ann Hardee Riggs said her father had never failed to get a kick out of seeing the red and white sign of the Hardee’s chain. “Anywhere he would go, he was proud to see his name up there,” she said.
 
SOURCE:  The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
SONNY OKOSUNS, MUSICIAN WITH MESSAGE
 
 
Published: June 25, 2008
 
 
Sonny Okosuns, a Nigerian singer and musician who achieved international stature by aiming his music — a catchy, rock-inflected cocktail of funk, reggae, Afrobeat and more — at human-rights abuses, died on May 24 in Washington. He was 61.
 
 
Sonny Okosuns performing around 1984.
 
 

Nigerian government officials confirmed his death. Reports in Nigerian newspapers said the cause was colon cancer.
 
Mr. Okosuns added the final “s” to his surname in adulthood, Africa News reported. He was referred to by both names.
 
His boyhood inspirations were Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard and the Beatles, but at a time when Africans were still fighting for their freedom, he took the position that songs needed a message. His anthem protesting apartheid in South Africa, “Fire in Soweto” (1977), was probably his best-known song, and others strongly promoted African unity and black pride.
“Papa’s Land” (1977) took on South African abuses. “Holy Wars” (1978) addressed liberation movements throughout southern Africa.
 
“All my mates were singing love songs,” he once said, according to an obituary in The Independent, in London. “I was trying to talk about what was happening to black people.”
In a review of a live performance in The New York Times in 1988, Jon Pareles said Mr. Okosuns delivered his freedom songs “with a soul singer’s gritty urgency.”
 
Most of his 39 albums were made in Nigeria, but some were recorded in England, France and the United States. In the 1970s and 80s, he toured in the United States and did tours of Nigeria with the reggae star Jimmy Cliff and others.
 
In 1985, he joined musicians including Bruce Springsteen, Miles Davis, Rubén Blades, Run-D.M.C. and Bob Dylan on “Sun City,” a benefit record to aid the fight against apartheid. He was the only African.
 
Sunny Okosun was born on Jan. 1, 1947, in Benin City, Nigeria. He dropped out after elementary school. His parents were traditional musicians, but he taught himself the guitar.
 
In addition to foreign rock ’n’ roll, he was inspired by popular films. Vanguard, a Nigerian newspaper, reported that his first recognition came as an actor. He organized and played with several local bands before starting Paperback Ltd. in 1972. That group was soon renamed Ozziddi, which means “message.”
 
Mr. Okosuns popularized liberation music well ahead of any of his countrymen. But his message was not radical, like that of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a dissident songwriter who directly challenged the government, Mr. Pareles wrote.
 
Musically, Mr. Okosuns combined Western funk and reggae with traditional melodies and rhythms. He said he believed that the elements from elsewhere were simply returning to Africa, where they had originated. The result was a zestful, funky strand in what has come to be called world music.
 
By the late 1980s, Mr. Okosuns found his popularity ebbing, but he reinvented himself as a gospel performer called Evangelist Sunny Okosuns. His 1994 album “Songs of Praise” sold almost a million copies, The Independent said.
 
After his death, Africa News reported on his complicated involvement with many women, at least two of whom he married — and these simultaneously.
 
The paper said that toward the end of his life, he took in many children to whom he was not related and ran his home “like a commune.” It said he gave his surname to many of the children but did not legally adopt them. His immediate survivors include four children.
 
 
SOURCE;  The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
KERMIT LOVE, COSTUME CREATOR, CO-CREATOR OF ‘BIG BIRD’
 
 
Published: June 24, 2008
Correction Appended
 
 
Kermit Love, the costume designer for some of ballet’s most renowned choreographers whose greatest fame came as a creator, with Jim Henson, of the beloved “Sesame Street” characters Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus, died on Saturday in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. He was 91 and lived in Stanfordville, N.Y.
 
 
 
 
June 24, 2008    

Jim Henson Company

Kermit Love with his bright yellow creation, Big Bird.
 
 

The cause was congestive heart failure, said Christopher Lyall, Mr. Love’s partner of 50 years.
 
Although Mr. Love collaborated with luminaries of dance like George Balanchine, Agnes de Mille, Robert Joffrey, Jerome Robbins and Twyla Tharp, it was the 8-foot-2, yellow-feathered Big Bird and his 7-foot, woolly mammoth-like friend Mr. Snuffleupagus — both perennially 6 years old — that brought him global attention.
 
“For Kermit, the costume was just the beginning,” said Kevin Clash, who is now senior puppet coordinator for “Sesame Street” and considers Mr. Love his mentor. “He taught how to create the character out of the costume.”
 
Caroll Spinney, 74, the man inside the bird since “Sesame Street” was first telecast in 1969, said, “We traveled the world doing shows for kids, sometimes with Big Bird conducting orchestras.”
 
In 1973, Mr. Spinney said, he and Mr. Love and a “big, hooped sack” containing Big Bird flew to Beijing to perform, a year after President Richard M. Nixon’s diplomatic breakthrough with Communist China. He said that Mr. Love was “was very picky about how the bird was handled.”
 
Big Bird had his own seat, Mr. Spinney said, adding, “They gave us a half-priced ticket because he was only 6 years old.”
 
Mr. Henson, a co-creator of “Sesame Street,” characters, who died in 1990, did the original sketches of Big Bird. Mr. Love built the bird, with its manhole-sized orange foam feet. He added feathers (with some designed to fall off) to make the creature cuter. Inside, Mr. Spinney controlled Big Bird’s mouth with his hand and the eyes with a lever attached to his pinky finger. A television monitor inside the puppet allowed Mr. Spinney to see the set.
Mr. Love, who, with his Santa Claus-like beard played Willy the Hot Dog Man on the show, also helped design Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster; he insisted he was not the namesake of the famous frog. He created characters for 22 foreign versions of “Sesame Street.”
 
It was Mr. Love’s work fashioning costumes and masks for dance that brought him to the attention of Mr. Henson. He had also worked in film and theater, including doing costumes for Broadway shows like “One Touch of Venus” in 1943 with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Ogden Nash; Mary Martin was the star.
 
A 1998 Dance magazine profile of Mr. Love said, “Regardless of the genre in which he works, each of his costumes is special because he seems to know a character’s personality and history and gives every detail a reason for being, historically as well as aesthetically.”
 
Mr. Love worked on . de Mille’s “Rodeo” in 1942 and, two years later, on Robbins’s first ballet, “Fancy Free.”
 
Mr. Love worked with Balanchine for more than 40 years. In 1965, he built the 28-foot-high marionette for the Balanchine production of “Don Quixote.” A decade later, they collaborated on “L’Enfant et les Sortilèges” (“The Spellbound Child”), a one-act opera that tells the tale of a bratty boy who tears up his house and tortures his cat and squirrel, but is then taught lessons by objects that come to life. For the 1981 television production of the work, Mr. Love created settings and costumes, including dancing chairs, a clock that spins away from a wall and life-size owls, frogs and dragonflies that flutter about the boy.
 
For the Joffrey Ballet’s “Nutcracker,” Mr. Love dressed the mice in suits of armor.
 
How many “Nutcrackers” had he done? “Oh God, so many ‘Nutcrackers,’ ” he once said.
Despite his assumed English (and sometimes French) accent, Kermit Ernest Hollingshead Love was born in Spring Lake, N.J., on Aug. 7, 1916. His father, Ernest Love, was a decorative plasterer. His mother, Alice, died when he was 3, and he was raised by a grandmother and a great-grandmother.
 
Young Kermit was first fascinated with Punch-and-Judy puppets at 7. “But what inspired me even more was shadow play,” he told New York magazine in 1985. “I can remember rigging a lantern and casting shadows on the wall.” Thrown by a horse at 12, he suffered serious damage to both legs. Bedridden for three years, he listened to radio dramas and drew pictures of what he imagined the characters looked like.
 
Mr. Love began making puppets for a federal Works Progress Administration theater in 1935 and soon after was designing costumes for Orson Welles’s Mercury Theater. Then he began working with Barbara Karinska, the costumer for the New York City Ballet.
Mr. Love is survived by Mr. Lyall.
 
Like a doting father, Mr. Love worried about Big Bird. In 1985, the two rode the Metroliner to Washington for the Easter Egg roll on the White House lawn.
 
“The grass stained his feet,” Mr. Love complained to New York magazine. “He had to have his soles replaced.”
 
 
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 27, 2008
An obituary on Tuesday about Kermit Love, a costume designer and a creator, with Jim Henson, of “Sesame Street” characters including Big Bird , misstated Mr. Henson’s role in starting “Sesame Street.” The show was created by a team put together by the Children’s Television Workshop, now called Sesame Workshop; Mr. Henson was not the creator.
 
 
SOURCE: The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
 
DODY GOODMAN, TELEVISION ACTRESS OF ‘MARY HARTMAN’ FAME
 
 
Published: June 24, 2008
Correction Appended
 
 
Dody Goodman, an actress who combined a dancer’s grace, a strawberry blond mane and exquisitely timed scatter-brained humor to create television legends, first as a fey foil to Jack Paar and later on the soap-opera parody “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” died Sunday in Englewood, N. J. She was 93, older than she often said.
 
 
 
WNEW-TV
Dody Goodman in 1977.
 
 

Victor Goldsmith, a receptionist at the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, confirmed the death and age.
 
Ms. Goodman’s distinctive voice was once described as sounding “like a Tweetie Pie cartoon bird strangling on peanut butter.” Her sweet face, Kewpie-doll mouth, supple tongue and teasing way of pausing before speaking were familiar to two generations.
 
“I just opened my mouth and people laughed,” she said in an interview with The New York Times in 1983.
 
Miss Goodman was a show-business ingénue when Mr. Paar invited her to be on his second episode of “The Tonight Show,” on July 30, 1957, and she became a regular. He wrote in his memoir that her “wackily endearing quality” made her his “first big hit.”
 
But she was hardly deferential. When Mr. Paar once remarked, “Give them enough rope,” she blithely replied, “And they’ll skip.”
 
Mr. Paar dropped her from the show in 1958. He wrote that he felt “like the announcer on ‘The Dody Goodman Show.’ ”
 
On “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” a cutting satire of TV mores in 1976-77 that retains a cult following, Miss Goodman played the title character’s mother. She talked to plants and had an affair with a hot-air balloonist who crashed through her kitchen roof. Her crackly voice intoned the show’s title during opening credits.
 
Dolores Goodman, who left no immediate survivors, was born in Columbus on Oct. 28, 1914.
 
She came to New York and danced in the ballet company of Radio City Music Hall and on Broadway. Imogene Coca, with whom she had acted, steered her to comedy and she was soon doing televised humor sketches.
 
Her subsequent career included appearing on the television show “Diff’rent Strokes”; in the movies “Grease” and “Splash”; as the cartoon voiceover in “The Chipmunk Adventure”; and in a wide range of live dramas.
 
Miss Goodman appeared in several roles in “Nunsense,” an off-Broadway musical farce, which opened in 1985, and in its sequels. The show’s creator, Danny Goggin, said in an interview with Playbill magazine that at 85 she could still lift her leg over her head as the Sugar Plum Fairy in “Nuncrackers.”
 
 
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: June 26, 2008
An obituary on Tuesday about the comic actress Dody Goodman misspelled the surname of the host of “The Tonight Show” who had her as a regular guest. He was Jack Paar , not Parr.
 
 
SOURCE:  The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
ARTHUR GALSTON, AGENT ORANGE RESEARCHER
 
 
Published: June 23, 2008
 
 
Arthur W. Galston, a Yale plant biologist who did early research that helped lead to the herbicide Agent Orange, then helped raise awareness of the military’s use of it in Vietnam in the 1960s and its devastating effects on river ecosystems, died on June 15 in Hamden, Conn. He was 88.
 
 
Martha Namerow
Arthur W. Galston in 2007.
 
 

The cause was congestive heart failure, his family said.
 
In letters, academic papers, broadcasts and seminars, Dr. Galston described the environmental damage wrought by Agent Orange and traveled to South Vietnam to monitor its impact. From 1962 to 1970, American troops released an estimated 20 million gallons of the chemical defoliant to destroy crops and expose Viet Cong positions and routes of movement.
 
Dr. Galston asserted that harm to trees and plant species could continue for an untold period, and perhaps for decades. He pointed out that spraying Agent Orange on riverbank mangroves in Vietnam was eliminating “one of the most important ecological niches for the completion of the life cycle of certain shellfish and migratory fish.”
 
Then, in 1970, with Matthew S. Meselson of Harvard and others, he made a case that Agent Orange presented a potential risk to humans. The scientists lobbied the Department of Defense to conduct toxicological studies, which found that compounds in Agent Orange could be linked to birth defects in laboratory rats. The revelation led President Richard M. Nixon to order an immediate halt of spraying.
 
In later years, Dr. Galston tied his activism to his own early research. In the 1940s, at the University of Illinois, he had experimented with a plant growth regulator, triiodobenzoic acid, and found that it could induce soybeans to flower and grow more rapidly. But if applied in excess, he noted, the compound would cause the plant to catastrophically shed its leaves.
A colleague, Ian Sussex, a senior research scientist at Yale, said others used Dr. Galston’s findings in the development of the more powerful defoliant, Agent Orange, named for the orange stripe painted around steel drums that contained it. The chemical, produced by Dow, Monsanto and other companies, is now known to have contained dioxins, long-lived compounds associated with cancers, birth defects and learning disabilities.
 
In the 1980s, Dr. Galston helped introduce popular courses in bioethics for undergraduates at Yale and in the 1990s was instrumental in founding the Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics at the university. He explored the risks and rewards of genetically modified plants and crops, pesticides, stem-cell research, cloning and other issues as co-editor of two textbooks, “New Dimensions in Bioethics” (2000) and “Expanding Horizons in Bioethics” (2005).
 
In other important work in plant physiology, Dr. Galston experimented with the nutrient riboflavin and its role in enabling plants to absorb blue light, making a connection that he advanced and published in 1950 in the journal Science. He also wrote a book, “The Life of the Green Plant” (1961).
 
Arthur William Galston was born in Brooklyn. He graduated from Cornell and earned his doctorate in botany from Illinois in 1943.
 
After teaching at the California Institute of Technology, he moved to Yale in 1955 as a professor of plant physiology. At Yale, he was chairman of the department of botany in the 1960s and chairman of the department of biology in the 1980s. Dr. Galston was also a former director of the division of biological sciences at Yale. He retired in 1990 as a professor of botany emeritus.
 
Dr. Galston is survived by his wife of 66 years, Dale. He is also survived by a son, William, of Bethesda, Md.; a daughter, Beth, of Carlisle, Mass.; and a grandson.
In 2003, Dr. Galston reconsidered the arc of his research.
 
“You know,” he said, “nothing that you do in science is guaranteed to result in benefits for mankind. Any discovery, I believe, is morally neutral and it can be turned either to constructive ends or destructive ends.”
 
He concluded: “That’s not the fault of science.”
 
Helen Keller, Symbol of Courage, Dies at 87

(June 1, 1968)

Andres Segovia, Master Guitarist, Dies at 94

(June 2, 1987)

Robert F. Kennedy, Heir of the New Frontier, Dies at 42

(June 6, 1968)

J. Paul Getty, Who Amassed Billions, Dies at 83

(June 6, 1976)

Satchel Paige, Black Pitching Star, Dies at 75

(June 8, 1982)

Louis L’Amour, Chronicler of West, Dies at 80

(June 10, 1988)

John Wayne, Actor, Dies at 72

(June 11, 1979)

Martin Buber, Jewish Philosopher, Dies at 87

(June 13, 1965)

Benny Goodman, King of Swing, Dies at 77

(June 13, 1986)

Kate Smith, All-American Singer, Dies at 79

(June 17, 1986)

Ethel Barrymore, One of Stage’s ‘Royal Family,’ Dies at 79

(June 18, 1959)

Sir William Golding, Author, Dies at 81

(June 19, 1993)

David O. Selznick, Producer of ‘Gone With the Wind,’ Dies at 63

(June 22, 1965)

Judy Garland, Star of Stage and Screen, Dies at 47

(June 22, 1969)

Dr. Jonas Edward Salk, Father of Polio Vaccine, Dies at 80

(June 23, 1995)

Grover Cleveland, 22nd President, Dies at 71

(June 24, 1908)

Nancy Mitford, Satiric Novelist, Dies at 68

(June 30, 1973)

Lillian Hellman, Playwright and Author, Dies at 79

(June 30, 1984)

 

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

IS HOLLYWOOD WHITEWASHING ETHNIC ROLES?

In the new movie “Stuck,” which opened last week, actress Mena Suvari plays a young woman named Brandi, who, after a night of partying, strikes a homeless man with her car, sending him through her windshield, and leaves him to die.
whites as ethnics
Mena Suvari, Angelina Jolie and Jim Sturgess were cast in roles that people of color created.

More Photos

 
 
 
The plot is based on the real-life story of Texas woman Chante Mallard, who, at age 27, was convicted of murder and evidence tampering, and given 50-year and 10-year concurrent sentences after she hit Gregory Biggs and left him to die stuck in her windshield.
 
Mallard is African-American. Suvari, the blonde, blue-eyed beauty from “American Beauty” and the “American Pie” movies, is not. But she does wear cornrows to play the role of Brandi.
 
In the realm of Hollywood, where artistic license is the rule and studios need to recoup the millions of dollars they sink into films, it’s not uncommon for white actors to be cast in ethnic roles or for real-life stories to be “whitewashed” to make them more mainstream.
 
“That movie Mena is in might not have gotten made if she wasn’t in it,” said David Vaccari, a New York-based casting director, who casts for films, television, commercials and theater.
 
“It’s all about getting the movie done. It’s a business. Everyone is looking to make their money back. The artistic vision is in there, but I don’t think it’s always the primary factor. Sometimes, ethnicity and the reality of the story are sacrificed.”
 
Bearing the brunt of that sacrifice are actors of color, who feel increasingly marginalized in Hollywood. “Hollywood is changing the paradigm of fundamental casting,” television and film actress Victoria Rowell told ABCNews.com. “Unless African-American actors, Hispanic actors, Middle Eastern actors and Asian actors say no more, it’s going to continue.
 
“Just because this true-life story is so abysmal does not mean we don’t want to play the part,” continued Rowell, who considers herself a multi-cultural woman of African descent. “If Denzel can play “American Gangster,” then Tichina Arnold, Thandie Newton, Victoria Rowell, Angela Bassett, Jada Pinkett-Smith and Audra McDonald would bring an authenticity to that role, if given the opportunity.”
 
Nia Hill, a black producer working in Hollywood, says the casting of Suvari in “Stuck” is indicative not just of the current state of racism in Hollywood, but reaches back to the very beginnings of the industry. “Unfortunately, the idea that roles that were specifically created for women of color have consistently been offered to white actors, spans at least a century back”.
 
“Stuck” is only the latest example. Last year, there was “A Mighty Heart,” in which Angelina Jolie, a white actress, played writer Mariane Pearl, who is Afro-Cuban and Dutch and grew up in France. Pearl reportedly wanted Jolie to play her, because she trusted her.
 
But the black blogosphere lit up when the first pictures of Jolie, in a corkscrew wig and tinted makeup, first appeared.
 
Caramel-colored actress Thandie Newton told Britain’s The Sun, after seeing photos from the film set in 2006, “God, I’m shocked. She’s been blacked up to play a black woman. I have to say it’s surprising, very surprising.” Newton told the reporter she would have loved to have played the role of Pearl, but would not judge Jolie’s performance until she saw it.
 
“Every black actress looked up and saw ‘A Mighty Heart’ and said, ‘Why wasn’t I asked to audition for that role,'” Rowell said. “I’m not here to chastise Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for bringing the story to the big screen, but why not put a black actress in that role?”
 
Michael Rechtshaffen, a film critic and feature writer for The Hollywood Reporter, believes the reason is financial. “It’s a difficult subject matter. It’s going to be a challenge to get people in the theater, so you want to put your best foot forward,” he said.
 
Yet, despite its bankable star, “A Mighty Heart” still tanked at the box office. Had the studio gone with a more obscure French actress, Rechtshaffen said, “it would have had no shot at all.”
 
Similarly, Vaccari believes the film “21,” which came out this spring, would have had little chance of being made if it had stayed true to the story it was based on from the book, “Busting Vegas: The MIT Whiz Kid Who Brought the Casinos to their Knees,” by Ben Mezrich.
 
The real whiz kid and his partners in crime are Asian American. The filmmakers made them white, with the exception of one Asian, and cast Jim Sturgess, a Brit, as the leader.
 
“They probably said, ‘this movie has a better chance of being mainstream if the lead is not Asian,'” Vaccari said. “It’s a question of ‘we can make this movie with four unknowns or we can try to take a little license with the script. No one is saying it’s real. They’re saying it’s based on a true story.'”
 
Rechtshaffen has heard similar arguments. “A film is not a documentary,” he said. “It’s an artistic vision. How loyal do you have to be to source material?”
 
Still, he believes if the film is based in fact, producers should “always try first to go for the real deal and really make an effort to find an actor who is most representative of the actual person.”
 
Rechtshaffen wonders if the producers of “Stuck” actually decided against casting a black woman and changed a lot of the facts of the case because they didn’t want it to be offensive to blacks.
 
Independent films, on the other hand, can cast non-white relative unknowns and audiences will accept it, Vaccari said, because they are expecting to see an authentic story about a particular place or person. Some independent films do well and even make a decent profit, but they are still an anomaly at the theater.
 
“At the multiplex, you’ll have seven screens playing “Iron Man,” seven playing “Indiana Jones,” and one playing “The Visitor,” he said.
 
Vaccari believes the real issue is not what color or ethnicity actors are, but how bankable are they. “It’s hard for all actors, everyone wants more parts,” he said. “At the top, there’s a level of actor who can do whatever they want. If Will Smith wanted to do that part in ’21,’ he probably could have done it. Will Smith can play a white guy. That’s the reality of the business.”
 
But there’s only one Will Smith and one Halle Berry. Even one of the most acclaimed black actresses, Angela Bassett, is turning to television for work; she’ll be a regular on the final season of “ER.” Rowell, who starred opposite Dick Van Dyke in the television series “Diagnosis Murder,” Jim Carey and Jeff Daniels in the film “Dumb and Dumber,” and Samuel L. Jackson in “Home of the Brave,” has turned to writing books. Her memoir, “The Women Who Raised Me,” was on the New York Time’s bestseller list.
 
But when it came time to record the audio portion of her book, the veteran actress had to fight to read it herself. The publisher, she said, wanted a European woman’s voice. It was a snub she never saw coming, especially since it was her own story.
 
“We’re in a dangerous place with all of this,” she said, “Hollywood is saying we don’t need you. We don’t need your face. Your skin color. Your history. We don’t even need your voice.”
 
She says actors of color have to push to get into the room and campaign for a role, and not just the ones based on real-life people. In the case of fictional roles, they have to get Hollywood to see them like their white counterparts, as actors who can perform any role, no matter what color or ethnicity the script calls for. “If we’re out of sight, we’re out of mind,” said Rowell.
 
Hill added, “The hope is that talent will soon supersede race and gender, and that is a hope that we are all responsible to fulfill. The studios, filmmakers, actors, and audiences all play a part in requiring and demanding things to change, and then actively changing them.”
 
 
 

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

IS THE CHANGING FACE OF FASHION BLACK?

I originally posted on the upcoming July, 2008 Italian Vogue issue back in May (https://kathmanduk2.wordpress.com/2008/05/20/viva-vogue-italia-a-fashion-mag-that-appreciates-black-female-beauty/) that will feature black models. Here is an update.
 
 
 
 
BEAUTIFUL IS BLACK: VOGUE ITALIAN
 
Vogue Italia

Vogue Italia

Supermodel Naomi Campbell, photographed by American photographer Steven Meisel, looks stunning in an image from the July issue of Italian Vogue. In recent years, Campbell’s beauty has been somewhat overshadowed by her tumultuous court battles, but she has been one of the most famous faces in modeling for the last two decades and has appeared on more than 500 magazine covers.
(Steven Meisel for Italian Vogue)
PreviousNext
1 of 10
 
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 

 

When was it decided that beauty meant blond? Or that runway shows were a dull parade of the same bland girl, with the same sad pout?
black models
Iman, Liya Kebe, Tyra Banks and Naomi Campbell are some of the models featured in July’s Italian Vogue.

(Getty Images)
More Photos

 
 
Since pale and pinched has been the norm on runways and magazines, the fashion industry has been under scrutiny for its obvious lack of ethnic diversity. Reversing that trend is Italian Vogue. Its July issue will feature pictures of only black models, and all accompanying articles will be about black women in the arts and entertainment.
 
The woman behind this change is Italian Vogue editor-in-chief Franca Sozzani, who, during her time as editor, has made the magazine synonymous with culture over consumerism. Sozzani attributed the inspiration for her July issue to a trip in February to New York City for fashion week. Struck by an absence of diverse faces on the runways, Sozzani told ABCNews.com, “There were no black girls, and the blond girls all look alike.”
Related
Sozzani said the lack of diversity in the fashion industry is in marked contrast to other aspects of American culture, particularly the current political scene. “There were no black girls,” she said, “but at the same time, people were talking about Obama.”
 
“There is no reason for it beyond blind prejudice,” Michael Musto, culture critic for the Village Voice, told ABCNews.com, about the dearth of black models on the runway and in magazines.
 
To convert her New York-born idea into an Italian reality, Sozzani called upon famed American photographer Steven Meisel, noted for his bold fashion photographs and his pool of celebrity subjects. Meisel is widely known for the 1992 book “Sex,” on which he collaborated with Madonna.
 
To grace the nearly 100 pages allotted for Meisel’s photographs, there was the task of casting. The Meisel-Sozzani team called upon new and familiar faces, bringing in modeling legends Iman, Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks, as well as comparative newcomers Jourdan Dunn and Liya Kebe, among others. The issue will hit European newsstands Thursday and will be available in the United
 
While the choice made by Italian Vogue highlights a need for change and diversification, it also underscores a larger question: why is such an issue only now being published?
Asked about the relative infrequency with which black models are booked, Sozzani said, “I think this is a fault of the agencies and not the designers. The white girls sell more, so you only ever find blond, blue-eyed girls. They don’t dedicate enough time to scout black girls.”
Sozzani added that it is not a low demand, but a low supply that’s to blame. “Naomi [Campbell] has been on the market for 20 years, and everybody likes her,” she said. “It’s not that fashion doesn’t like this look.”
Musto took a different approach.
 
“I blame the editorial, the people who run the fashion magazines,” he said. “They can call the shots.”
 
And they do. American Vogue has had just 34 black women, most of them models, on its cover in its 116-year history. When Jennifer Hudson, the singer and actress from “Dreamgirls” graced its cover last year for Vogue’s “Power” issue, she was only the third black celebrity to be on the cover. Musto said the magazine treated it as “a big noble gesture.”
 
Vogue also received scrutiny for its April 2008 cover featuring white supermodel Gisele Bündchen together with black NBA star LeBron James — the first black man to make Vogue’s cover — in a pose that some critics called racist.
 
But American Vogue is not taking the criticism lying down. In its July issue, released in conjunction with the historic Italian Vogue, it will feature a six-page spread, focusing on racism in the fashion industry. The article will highlight the careers of three up-and-coming black models, Chanel Iman, Arlenis Sosa and Dunn, who is also featured in Italian Vogue.
Patrick O’Connell, director of communications for Vogue, told ABCNews.com, “American Vogue is taking the issue very seriously.”
 
 
SOURCE:  http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/story?id=5237023&page=1

 

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

‘THE COUNTRY I LOVE’

 

 

Americanflags.jpg

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylVTBiGh00c

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized