Legendary: Ruby Dee

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Photo Credit Via thunderbird37.com

Photo Credit Via thunderbird37.com

Please forgive the lateness of this post, but it has taken me a bit of time to comprehend this tragic loss.  Having met Miss Ruby Dee back in 2007, I can say first hand what a formidable, warm and spirited woman she was.  The way she looked at me and called me sister was one of the greatest moments of my life; and during our conversation, her advice to me to follow my dreams and persevere no matter what, has become my guiding truth.  One does not easily forget a woman like this, nor does one not grieve her loss.  Having just said good-bye to Maya Angelou, we are reminded once again that our legends, our great ones, are passing on and leaving us to pick up the baton; to carry on what they worked so incredibly hard for their entire lives.  Were it not for Ruby Dee, Maya Angelou, Lena Horne, Dorothy Dandridge, Louise Beavers, Hattie McDaniel, Butterfly McQueen, Juanita Moore, Diahann Carroll and hundreds of others that paved the way, I would not be the woman I am today with my position and success.  So forgive me if I feel this loss perhaps slightly deeper than others.

Ruby Dee, born Ruby Ann Wallace on October 27, 1922 in Cleveland, OH, and raised in Harlem, NY where she graduated from Hunter College, was a civil rights activist, actress, poet, playwright, humanitarian, journalist and breast cancer survivor of more than three decades.  While she had well over 100 film and television (and 34 theatre, including the debut performance of A Raisin in the Sun costarring Sidney Poitier, and that was nominated for four Tony awards) credits to her name, spanning back to 1946, she is probably most well known for The Jackie Robinson Story (1950), her groundbreaking role in A Raisin in the Sun (1961), Roots: The Next Generations (1979),  Do The Right Thing (1989) and American Gangster (2007) for which she was nominated (and  should have won) an Academy Award.  Her many accolades and awards include a Primetime Emmy, AAFC Award, Jury Award, ACE Award, a Grammy, four Image Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award and several lifetime achievement awards, as well as the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors.

Her acting career, like many Black artists of the time, began at the American Negro Theatre where her peers were Harry Belafonte, Hilda Sims and Sidney Poitier.  After her time at ANT, which closed in 1949, Ms. Dee made several appearances on Broadway and at numerous theatre festivals including becoming the first Black Actress to play Kate in The Taming of the Shrew and Cordelia in King Lear at the American Shakespeare Festival.

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Ruby Dee, who took the middle name of her first husband, blues singer Frankie Dee Brown (whom she divorced in 1945), as her stage name, married Ossie Davis in 1948 having met while costarring in the 1946 Broadway play Jeb.  They soon became one of, if not the, most respected and fiercest acting couples not just in the African American community, but in Hollywood (Their infamous saying of “In This Thing Together” still rings true as Ruby Dee will be cremated, and her ashes placed in the same urn as her husbands and sealed forever).

While most knew Miss Dee as the magnificent actress she was, some fail to realize that, besides her outstanding contribution to the arts, she was also a civil rights activist. A member of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the NAACP, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Delta Sigma Theta sorority and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Ruby made it her life’s work to champion for equal rights. Dee, who with her husband Davis, associated with such influential and significant figures like Malcolm X, Black Panther Party co-founder Huey P Newton, and numerous others, emceed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 March on Washington, organized a boycott of Christmas shopping, urging Americans to support civil rights groups instead in the wake of the 1963 Birmingham, Ala., church bombing that killed four young black girls; in 1965

Photo Credit Via newsnyork.com

Photo Credit Via newsnyork.com

she and Davis marched for civil rights in Selma, Ala, and in 1999 they were both arrested as they protested the fatal shooting of unarmed African immigrant Amadou Diallo by New York City police officers.  During this time Dee also appeared in such politically charged films as Gone Are the Days and The Incident, which is recognized as helping pave the way for young African-American actors and filmmakers.

Sadly, in 2005, Dee lost her life partner of 56 years, Ossie Davis, but despite her grief, she passionately continued her work in both civil rights and the arts. She developed a one woman show, authored two children’s books and, like many Hollywood personalities, stood firmly against the war in Iraq.

No stranger to recognition and awards, in 2007 Ruby was inducted into the Weschester County Women’s Hall of Fame joining such other honorees as Hillary Rodham Clinton and Nita Lowey, and in 2009, she received an Honorary Degree from Princeton University.  Her powerful 2007 appearance in the film American Gangster, alongside Denzel Washington, saw her receive her first and only Oscar nomination, even though she was only on screen for a total of ten minutes; a testament to her great talent.

Photo Credit Via madamenoire.com

Photo Credit Via madamenoire.com

Ruby Dee has clearly left her legacy, not only through her family (three children: son, blues musician Guy Davis, two daughters, Nora Day and Hasna Muhammad, and seven grandchildren), but through all of the lives she has touched with her work as an artist and humanitarian.  Her humor, wit, beautiful mind, glorious talent and fierce sense of fashion (!!!) will be greatly missed.  They don’t make them like this anymore; she was in a class reserved for a very select few.  And we should consider ourselves lucky we had the opportunity to learn from such a prodigious and marvelously fascinating woman.

 

 

Love

BCM

 

Ol Pejeta: Doodle a Rhino and Help Stop Poaching in Kenya

Feeding-Hope-credit-Lewa-Willdife-ConservancyHello everyone! We are helping our dear friends, actor Kevin McNally and his amazing daughter Rachel McNally spread the word about their friends, Daryll Pleasants and Donna Purvis’  Ol Pejeta Conservancy Project.

Due to an overwhelming and generous response resulting in a large amount of fabulous donations, the auction will take place internationally via an online auction site which will open August 1, 2014 . The auction will officially launch with a private view and anti-poaching dog presentation at THE FORUM, NORWICH, Saturday, July 26, 2014 from 7pm -9 pm. Bidding will run for four weeks throughout August at: https://www.charityauctionorganizer.com/auction/opc. All proceeds will go towards the upkeep and expansion of the anti-poaching dog section and anti-poaching efforts to protect the elephants and rhinos at Ol Pejeta.

As part of the auction, the organizers have asked talented and well known artists and sculptors to donate a piece of artwork, print or sculpture to their cause. In addition, celebrities/actors/personalities were called upon to consider supporting the ‘Doodle a Rhino’ campaign, in which they doodled a rhino in pencil/pen/paint/crayon (anything!) on a piece of A4 card and signed for authenticity.

Please see Daryll and Donna’s website for more details: www.whitepawprofessionaldogtraining.com, or, contact Rachel McNally via Twitter at @MissRaeMcNally. You may also contact Black Chick Media here. Ready…Steady…Bid!

 

Love

BCM

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Get Your Model Walk Ready!

Did you know that Columbus is the third largest fashion city in the country, behind New York City and Los Angeles? Articles in USA Today, Indianapolis Star, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and others point to the fact that Columbus has 500+ working fashion designers, putting our city third in the per-capita rankings of major U.S. cities.

Around town, there are plenty of ways to experience fashion through fashion shows, special events, and concerts, and we’d like to give CYP Club members the inside track:

Join us on Wednesday, July 2nd as we host a fashion-focused panel, Columbus is Fashion, from 7:30-9:00 a.m. at the Creekside Conference and Event Center. It’s part of our monthly Coffee Talk networking series.

Moderated by Angela An of WBNS-10TV, the panel will include: Tommy McClure, Executive Director of CMH Fashion Week; Stephanie Stein, Fashion Coordinator for Fashion Meets Music Festival; Kevin Cothren, Senior Merchant at EXPRESS, and a representative from Alternative Fashion Mob Columbus.

The event will be filmed, it includes coffee, juice, and a delicious continental breakfast catered by Taste Hospitality, and it costs only $10 to attend ($5 of which will be donated to CMH Fashion Week’s non-profit scholarship program for emerging designers)! Register now

Via Columbus Young Professionals

We Are Here to Support You in Your Career Success!

Photo Credit Via redshoemovement.com

Photo Credit Via redshoemovement.com

Those of us here at BCM understand life and career changes, especially the challenges our fellow artists face, and that is why we now offer job search assistance! Whether you’re looking for a long-term opportunity, or something for “just right now”, we can help you find the perfect fit.

Our services include:

  • Phone/Skype/Email correspondence
  • Career goal assessment and Career path guidance (Exploration)
  • Resume/CV/Cover-letter writing and review
  • Interview coaching
  • After interview guidance (Follow-up; Thank You Letters)
  • Networking opportunities with organizations and employers in your area of interest
  • Image and style creation/coaching
  • Internship placement
  • Skill development
  • Communicating with potential employers (Do’s and Don’ts)
  • General job search strategies
  • Targeted job search strategies
  • Skill development
  • Career Fairs and Workshops

Contact us for more information!

Inspiring Women Series: Linda Mizejewski

To kick off our new Inspiring Women Series, we chose a woman who is a prominent figure at The Ohio State University in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies and Film Studies.  Dr. Mizejewski’s classes focus on women in media, particularly film, and body politics.  Professor Mizejewski recently released a novel titled, Pretty/Funny, which examines the politics of women in comedy, and focuses on the careers of Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres, Wanda Sykes and many more. 

Below (or you can watch the interview on our YouTube channel) you will find our recent interview with Professor Mizejewski where she spoke to us about this book, the classes she teaches, body politics and upcoming projects in detail.

Part 1: Pretty/Funny

Part 2: Women in Popular Culture & Comedy

Part 3: Body Politics & Upcoming Projects

 

“I Am A Woman Phenomenally…Phenomenal Woman, That’s Me.”

While I would like nothing more than to write a lengthy, most deserved and heartfelt post dedicated to this magnificent woman, I am afraid I cannot find words powerful enough, exceptional enough, vast enough…To hold or express all that she meant to me, and indeed to the Black (and world) community.

I am reminded of the time I had the pleasure of hearing her speak at my alma mater. It was in her later years, when she no longer commanded the stage by both voice and body (she was resigned to sitting in an armchair the entire time), but that did not stop her from subtly (yet, not so subtly…) demanding attention and changing the lives of every single person in that room.  From reciting Shakespearean Sonnets after a discussion on diversity in life, the arts, and being yourself no matter what, to speaking on the notion of inner & universal peace, the constant struggle for civil rights and liberties, the political state of the world, the power of the individual and the joy of learning and education, that evening, Dr. Maya Angelou taught us all what it meant to be human.

And it was then, hearing her in person for the first time that I truly understood who she was, and who I could be; that I had the power to change my life, be who I needed and wanted to be, and create a better world for and with the people around me.  Despite the fact I had read I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings at least five times, can recite Phenomenal Woman at the drop of a hat and am always electrified by the weight of the words in Still I Rise, over the years, Maya Angelou has taught me, and indeed, all of us, what it is to face adversity head-on with a machete in one hand and a rose in the other;  how to overcome my (our) fears and come out the other side a better person.  That no matter what trauma and violence and hatred we have witnessed against ourselves or any other human being, we must never be silent; we must rise.

We are losing our giants, and who will be honorable enough to rise and stand in their place? Today, on this great day of sorrow, we take a moment of silence to honor and salute you Maya Angelou.  Your legacy will inspire generations to come; you changed our lives in ways that simple words cannot express, and we are forever in your debt.

“The true definition of a  Warrior Queen. A very sad loss for all of Humanity.” -Anna Harwich

Yes, Anna, we couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Love

BCM

 

 

 

Phenomenal Woman

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman

Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
‘Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

Maya Angelou

 

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1…2 Mic Check Mic Check 1…2…Mic Check

Happy Monday everyone!  As this lovely day draws to a close, we’d like to remind you to make sure you listen to our interview on ‘The Voice of Pink Pearl Magazine’ on Talktainmentradio.com this Wednesday at 4pm EST.  We are pleased to announce we will be joined by a  very special guest, Sarah Berger of the So & So Arts Club; a marvelous organization of which, we are a proud member. #WomeninArt #LookWhatsPossible

Love

BCM

Happy Birthday, Lorraine Hansberry!

Photo credit via: broadwayscene.com

Photo credit via: broadwayscene.com

Before her untimely death from cancer in 1965 at the age of 34, writer, playwright and inspiration for Nina Simone’s song “To Be Young, Gifted and Black“,  Lorraine Hansberry left us with perhaps one of the most poignant plays of all time, A Raisin in the Sun (We were lucky enough to see its most recent installation during a 14 week run on Broadway this past April.  Check back soon for our blog post on that fabulous experience).  Lorraine Vivian Hansberry, the first black woman to write a play performed on Broadway, attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and, in 1951, began her illustrious writing career as a member of staff of the black newspaper Freedom, which was edited by Louis E. Burnham and published by Paul Robeson.  At Freedom, she worked with W. E. B. Du Bois and other Black Pan-Africanists.  This experience undoubtedly set the stage for the rest of her career.

A Raisin in the Sun, which was loosely based on her family’s struggle against segregation and the legal efforts to force the Hansberry family out of their predominately white neighborhood, and which culminated in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in challenging a restrictive covenant and eventually provoking the case Hansberry v. Lee, has become one of the most reproduced African American plays in history. The title, taken from the Langston Hughes poem Harlem, is easily recognizable and quickly associated with Hansberry’s masterpiece.

Hansberry, the youngest of four children born to a school teacher mother and real-estate broker father, grew up on the South Side of Chicago.  Her parents, both supporters of the Urban League and NAACP in Chicago were also active in the Chicago Republican Party.  This political involvement undoubtedly helped shape young Lorraine into the civil and basic human rights activist she would become.  

While widely known for A Raisin in the Sun, her other works include Les Blancs, Toussaint, (a fragment from a work in progress, unfinished at the time of Hansberry’s death), The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window (her second and last staged play), The Drinking Gourd and What Use Are Flowers?, just to name a few.

Today, we salute you Lorraine Hansberry.  Happy Birthday.

 

Love

BCM

 

 

“There is always something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that, you ain’t learned nothing.”

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SRO Theatre Company in Association with The King Arts Complex Presents:

A Raisin in the Sun June 5 – 15, 2014

The SRO Theatre Company in association with The King Arts Complex presents an American classic, A Raisin in the Sun, written by Lorraine Hansberry. The show runs June 5 – 15, 2014, at the Shedd Theatre in the Columbus Performing Arts Center, 549 Franklin Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215.

 

Directed by Alan Bomar Jones, the play, which received a Best American Play award in 1959 from the New York Drama Critics’ Circle, centers on a struggling African-American family, and their determination to live a better life in the face of poverty and racism. When a sizable insurance check arrives, the family’s hopes and dreams are challenged.

 

Showtimes and dates for A Raisin in the Sun are 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 5; 8:00 p.m. on Friday, June 6; 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 7; 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 8; 10:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Friday, June 13; 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 14; and 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 15.

 

Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for seniors (55+), $15 for SRO members, $10 for students, and $15 for adults and seniors for the10:30a.m., Friday, June 13, performance.Tickets can be purchased by going to the website at www.srotheatre.org. Discounted group tickets (10+ people) are available. For group sales, call 614-258-9495.

 

SRO’s mission is to build upon decades of internationally acclaimed professional theater, emphasizing inclusive “theater for life,” through our strong community and educational involvement, as well as growing corporate partnerships.

 

For more information, please visit www.srotheatre.org.