jeudi, novembre 17, 2005

Ode to Ossie: Icon # 2

"Any form of art is a form of power, it has impact, it can affect change. It cannot only move us, it makes us move".
----Ossie Davis

"I find, in being black, a thing of beauty; a joy, a strength, a secret cup of gladness".
-----Ossie Davis

I remember February 4, 2005 when I heard that our beloved Ossie Davis had passed. I felt a deep wave of sadness, nostalgia, and want -- I wanted more, I felt Ossie had more to give, say, and do. I immediately began to re-educate myself on his accomplishments filmically, personally, professionally, and as an activist. I re-watched Do the Right Thing, Get on the Bus, No Way Out, Grumpy Old Men... I read the eulogy he gave at Malcolm X's funeral... I mulled over the replicas of his life that remained, trying to piece together the august life that Ossie had lived.

The life Ossie crafted for himself was majestic; he lived for the people and believed that art was political. I admire him so profusely because he was one of the few Black actors of his time to purposefully seek out and create spaces for roles that were not buttressed by a stereotype. Though his fame never reached the heights of say a Sidney Poiter, he nonetheless remained a key intellectual and artistic genius within both the Black American and American political and artistic spheres.

In remembrance of Ossie I chose a poem by Dr. Gloria Wade Gayles entitled "Black men":

Black Men
Black Men are


refusing their backs
to those who comewith

They gallop
gallop away
fast fast fast fast
like wild Stallions
making winds of dust
leaving no hoofprints
galloping fast
to open fields of their dreams
where no one can break them in
tame them
train them
name the trails for them.
Black Men
are also
dancing gentle

who cushion their backs
for those
without spurs
who ride light with stroking hands.

kvetch - intransitive verb: To complain habitually.
noun:1. A complaint 2. A habitual complainer.

"I have come to tell you you are beautiful. I believe you are beautiful, But that it not the issue. The issue is they want you dead"---Nicolas Guillen