Forty years ago this February, President Gerald Ford, was the first to recognize “Black History Month.” This period of acknowledgement evolved from “Negro History Week,” that was created by historian Carter G. Woodson, and other prominent African-Americans. This installment of the FUNKALICIOUS blog, is a retrospective of some American and Internatinal “Black” History accomplishments and occurrences, throughout 2015…
“The Color Purple” opens on Broadway tomorrow night! Starring Jennifer Hudson as “Shug Avery,” the all around female entertainer performed a segment of the show, on “The Late Show” after taking the couch with Stephen Colbert on Monday night.
Not too long ago, Laurence Fishburne played “Dr. Raymond Langston” in CBS’ CSI series, but first he was Dr. Joshua “Josh” Hall (#1) on “One Life to Live” on ABC TV from ’73 to ’76; he did a television movie, then began a career in film. He took on a role with Pee Wee’s Playhouse as “Cowboy Curtis” from 86 to 90; and most recently was “Jack Crawford” in the small screen version of “Hannibal,” that was based on the character made famous in the Oscar award winning film, “The Silence of the Lambs.”
The City of Chicago honored ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan this past weekend by naming a street after her. A ceremony took place on Saturday, July 27th, christening “Chaka Khan Way”, and Sunday, July 28th, has now been declared “Chaka Khan Day” in Chicago, which is the FUNKY singer’s hometown. Born Yvette Marie Stevens on March 23, 1953, Chaka made her presence known during the 1970s.
It’s hard to fathom that The Color Purple is 30 years old already. I read the book in my Black literature class in college. I have watched the movie so many times that I can recite all of the lines by heart…like many Black women can and do every time. I saw the broadway play three times. I can’t think of another piece of work that has made me cry, over and over again, across multiple formats. Here are some comments from Alice Walker on the 30th anniversary of The Color Purple.
As a fan of the theater, I began collecting window cards from the broadway shows that I was fortunate enough to see. My love for the art on them grew from there and I started collecting all of the window cards from Black plays and musicals and plays the featured Black actors that I could find.
With the number of new Black Broadway shows that have opened in the past few years, like The Color Purple, there has been much written about the increase in Black attendance on Broadway. However, Blacks have been acting, writing, scoring and attending Broadway shows since the late 1800’s, so it’s not a new phenomenon. Here is a chronological history of the Great White Way in Black from 1896 – Present.