Democracy Now! March 26, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! March 26, 2002
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Part I Debate: "Was a door really opened at this years Academy Awards?" [African Americans and Hollywood Film Industry]

9:01-9:06 HEADLINES 9:06-9:07 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:07-9:20 BREAKING THE HOLLYWOOD RACE BARRIER. WAS A DOOR REALLY OPENED AT THIS YEARS ACADEMY AWARDS? WE HAVE A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION. They are calling it a historic night. A groundbreaking night. A milestone event. They are calling it the first real Academy Awards show of color in 74 years of history. On Sunday evening, Halle Berry became the first African American woman to earn an Oscar for best actress. She won for her role in "Monster's Ball, in which she played a grief-stricken mother who becomes involved with her husband's racist executioner. Just minutes after her big win, Denzel Washington won the the Oscar for best actor for his role as a corrupt LA cop in the movie "Training Day. It was only the second time in Oscar history that an African American man had won that award. The first was Sidney Poitier, who was also honored at this years Oscars for his brilliant and barrier-breaking career in film.Dorothy Dandridge was the first African-American woman nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for "Carmen Jones" in 1954. As David Hinkley writes in New Yorks Daily News, Dandridge was one of the few African American actresses able to push a short distance into the general market. But even the most successful female graduate of the black entertainment world, Lena Horne, spent much of her career hitting dead ends. I spent years pinned to a post, she said in 1982, when she was doing a one-woman show on Broadway. I'd sing a song that they could edit out so the movie could be shown in the South. They didn't want blacks in films there unless they were servants. Well, in the wake of Sundays Oscars show, many are saying that Hollywoods days of racism and exclusion are now over. Others, however, are not so convinced. Today, we have a roundtable discussion on Hollywood, racism, and the door that may or may not have just been opened.GUEST: RUBY DEE, stage, film and TV actress, published novelist, poet and columnist for the "Amsterdam News." Dee won acclaim on Broadway in Lorraine Hansberry's ground-breaking "A Raisin in the Sun" in 1959, and went on to work with Sidney Poitier in several films and Broadway productions. She played Mother Sister in Spike Lees "Do the Right Thing" and the soft-hearted mother in Lees "Jungle Fever. Dee and her husband and frequent co-star Ossie Davis are longtime activists in the civil rights movement. GUEST: CLARA RODRIGUEZ, Professor, Department of Sociology & Anthropology, Fordham University. She is the author of Latin Looks: Images of Latinos and Latinas in U.S. Media and Changing Race: Latinos, the Census and the History of Ethnicity in the United States. GUEST: JACK SHAHEEN, media critic and author of Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People GUEST: ANNA DEAVERE SMITH, actress, playwright, performance artist, and professor of performance studies at NYU. She founded the Institute on the Arts and Civic Dialogue. She has appeared on ABCs The Practice and NBCs West Wing, and has acted in The American President, and Philadelphia. She is the recipient of the 1994 MacArthur Award and two Tony Award nominations, the Obie Award for Best Play, Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Solo Performance, and she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1992. GUEST: MICHELE WALLACE, feminist scholar, author, and professor of English at the City Collge of New York. She is the author of the ground-breaking "Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman," which was published in 1979. She was just 26. Other books she has written since include Black Popular Culture, and Invisibility Blues. She also has a forthcoming book with Duke University Press called Dark Designs: Race, Gender and Visual Culture. GUEST: RICHARD WESLEY, assistant professor of screenwriting and playwriting in the Department of Dramatic Writing at NYU. He wrote the screenplay for Saturday Night and the followup film Lets Do It Again, both starring Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby. GUEST: ARMOND WHITE, Film critic, New York Press. He is formerly head of the New York Film Critics Circle. He is the author of The Resistance: Ten Years of Pop Culture that Shook the World" 9:20-9:21 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:21-9:40 WAS A DOOR REALLY OPENED AT THIS YEARS ACADEMY AWARDS? A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION CONTD 9:40-9:41 ONE-MINUTE MUSIC BREAK 9:41-9:58 WAS A DOOR REALLY OPENED AT THIS YEARS ACADEMY AWARDS? A ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION CONTD 9:58-9:59 OUTRO AND CREDITS

Date Recorded on: 
March 26, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
March 26, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WPFW; Amy Goodman, host. March 26, 2002
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