Thread: RIP Ossie Davis
2/05/2005 11:42am, #1
RIP Ossie Davis
At 87 Ossie Davis died yesterday. He was an actor in films and on the stage, appearing in several Spike Lee films, Grumpy Old Men, and lot of others. His best role in my opinion was to bridge the gap between the moderates and radicals in the civil rights struggle; he spoke at both Martin Luther King's and Malcolm X's funerals.
Here is his reply (only asked by whites, as he points out) to the question why would he eulogize Malcolm X. http://www.mindfully.org/Reform/Malc...-Davis1965.htm
Here is his eulogy given in both the real funeral and again in the movie.
2/06/2005 2:48pm, #2
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
- Bay Area
thanks for the info. A wonderfully talented actor, and human being."Its not important to be strong, its just important not to be weak."
2/06/2005 11:15pm, #3
RIP, Mr. Davis"We spoke to them in the only language they understood: the machine gun"
2/07/2005 2:12am, #4
I thought he was hilarious as JFK in Bubba Ho-Tep, and
Grumpy Old Men.
2/13/2005 10:32am, #5
Mumia Abu Jamal on Ossie Davis
• Mumia Abu Jamal, commentary courtesy of Prison Radio.
AMY GOODMAN: And today, we end the program with Mumia Abu Jamal and his tribute to Ossie Davis from death row in Pennsylvania.
MUMIA ABU JAMAL: Ossie Davis, our own black shining star. A lion has fallen. Ossie Davis, the deep voiced, proud and majestic man who has performed on stage, film, television and community centers, has passed from this life at the age of 87 years, leaving behind him the radiant and talented Ruby Dee, his co-star on life's broad stage, and millions of mourners the world over. In whatever role he accepted, he projected a rare and matchless dignity. Ossie Davis was a brave man who didn't just play one on TV. At a time when it was personally, politically and career-wise dangerous, he stepped forth to support the civil rights struggles of the 1960s and 1970s and wrote his legacy large in black America's history when he delivered the touching and heartfelt eulogy to the black nationalist leader, Malcolm X. His words leavened with love and courage were as much a tribute to Malcolm as they were to himself, for they reflected a deep and abiding love for black people, even though seen as enemies of the state. Of Malcolm, he would say, he was our own black shining prince who didn't hesitate to give his life because he loved us so. Many years ago, perhaps around 1980, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ossie Davis and his lovely wife Ruby. I found a generous, humorous, sweet and deep soul. Ossie talked about what being in the arts meant to him.
OSSIE DAVIS: Our history is about survival under impossible circumstances, and I would like to do something that dramatized those instances where we were able to survive even though we didn't have the means to survive, that magical thing that people sometimes have when they reach within themselves, and find something that they didn't even know was there, that helped us to make it over. And I know these stories. I talk about them. I tell them, but it would be so much better if I could do it in a way that a mass audience could be reached, that means the drama first of all, that means motion pictures. That means television and radio and everything.
MUMIA ABU JAMAL: All right, all right. I hear the sound of pure pandemonium breaking loose. The audience is coming in. The actors are stretching, as you say, and groaning and getting their thing together, and the technicians are technocating, whatever technicians do, and you must get ready for the beginning of this performance. We thank you for the time you and your wife have taken, and we want to transmit to you, as well as you transmit to us through your work, through your life, that we love you.
OSSIE DAVIS: Thank you to all of the audience who listen to this, to you and through you that I, too, love you. Without you, there would be no me. Thank you.
MUMIA ABU JAMAL: From that spark of inspiration and the magic of a marriage to the wondrous Ruby Dee, the arts under both of their singular talents have been rewarded. I asked him about the impact of their politics on their careers and he easily answered that they always found something to do. If it was a play in a black college or neighborhood community center, for there was no community that closed their doors to their talent and their spirits. He added, that he didn't need much. But for most young people, perhaps the grizzled old guy in Spike Lee's movie, Do the Right Thing, sparks memories. In the flick, Davis plays Da Mayor, a street figure who pines for the attention of his love interest, played by Ruby Dee. This very role reflects the essence of what Davis and Dee have done for generations now, taken rather ordinary rules and imbued them with grace and dignity, a reflection of how they touched the lives of millions of ordinary people by reflecting the best that is within them.
A country boy, from Cogdell, Georgia, Ossie Davis inspired millions through decades of performances in various media with the essential elements of dignity and the love for one's people. He was a lion, and though he has passed, may his brilliant life inspire the lions and giants to come. From death row, this is Mumia Abu Jamal."Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez
2/13/2005 10:45am, #6
Best bio so far: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...-2004Dec3.html
Bullshido has had endless threads about Black history and racism. It's ironic that if the participants would read the above bio, we'd probably agree a lot more. Looking at the lives of committed people like Ruby and Ossie, the issues fall into place.
I hope the library carries this:
The Second American Revolution. Producers: Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, and Bill Moyers, 1984. Distributor: PBS Video, Hosts Bill Moyers, Ruby Dee, and Ossie Davis examine the search of Blacks for racial equality in twentieth-century America. This two videocassette series includes archival film and still photographs of the great personalities and events of the freedom movement.
Ossie, "The choice is to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
Ossie had a big FBI file.
The FBI's War on Black America.
Under J. Edgar Hoover, the Federal Bureau of Investigations set out to discredit individuals and organizations in the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. This film takes a look at the FBI's Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).
Last edited by patfromlogan; 2/13/2005 11:21am at ."Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez
2/13/2005 11:23am, #7
Actor, civil rights and anti-war leader, Ossie Davis, speaking a few days after the invasion of Iraq began on March 22, 2003.
OSSIE DAVIS: I am a citizen of this country with a democratic responsibility, you know, to speak out, even if what I say is unpopular. Now, those in our craft and profession who follow the path of celebrity, whose, you know, whose every word or every move is dictated about how it's going to look in the ratings may have another way to respond to the calls of citizenship, but I am not concerned about that. They tell me that supporting President Bush is patriotic. Well, I would say that a deeper patriotism is required when we consider to whom we owe our patriotic response. Nobody is more concerned for the welfare of the young men and women who are fighting overseas. I want them home so much that I'm out here today saying, please, please stop. Bring them home. That, to me, is patriotism. Mr. Bush has his point of view and his right to express it, and I have mine. On this, we disagree, and it's my patriotic right and responsibility to tell Mr. Bush, who works for me, who spends my tax dollars, that not in my name will you do this.
AMY GOODMAN: Ossie Davis, you're wearing a cap that says USS Mason. What is that?
OSSIE DAVIS: This is a cap representing the only ship in World War II that was manned by black personnel. I didn't know when I fought in World War II that the Navy even allowed black folks to fight independently in one ship. The USS Mason was that ship. So, we were doing a documentary about it, and they were kind enough to give me this hat. So in their name and in their honor, as veterans of World War II, I'm wearing this hat.
AMY GOODMAN: There's a discussion --
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. Davis, are you a veteran?
OSSIE DAVIS: Oh, am I a veteran? Oh, yes, I am. I remember in World War II sitting one day, August 7, 1945, and realizing that the bomb that had been dropped on Hiroshima not only killed 220,000 people over there, but part of it fell on me, too. And I recognized that something cataclysmic had happened, an earthquake in my world and in my thoughts had taken place. It called on me to make a choice. I didn't know it at the time, but somebody finally said, the choice is to live together as brothers or perish together as fools. I come together to say, I choose to live for brotherhood and not for folly. I choose peace and not war. I choose life and not death.
ANY GOODMAN: Does the term shock and awe bring memories back of that time?
OSSIE DAVIS: Yes. It does. It also brings memories of what happens after shock and awe. It's the disorientation and the depression, the dislocation of the human spirit. It's something, you know, that we wear and bear forever. To go into a city and shock them with the power of our bombs and to awe into submission, to me, is not a sign of bravery. It is rather a sign of bullying. We have this tremendous power, and we exercise it at its full against people who have no quarrel with us. Mothers, children, dogs, cats, all life can be obliterated by what we do. Shock, yes. Awe, yes. How close do we come to the end of all civilization by when we do these things. Oh, yes. I'm shocked, and I stand in awe of the possibility of the destruction which might include me and mine.
AMY GOODMAN: As the bombs rain down on Baghdad, the Academy Awards are going to go on. There's been discussion of a blacklist of actors who are speaking out against war, and some who might even use the Academy Awards as a platform to discuss their views. What are your thoughts about that as an actor?
OSSIE DAVIS: Well, in the first place, I confess that I have never taken the Academy Awards very seriously. It's an exercise in salesmanship and hype, and little more. I do understand its important to those who participate, and I can empathize or sympathize with those who think that they must say yes and be innocuous in order to be loved. I'm sorry that they feel this way, because it is not true. I don't think an Academy Award, I don't think being a celebrity or being anything else overrides the responsibility to be a decent, humane citizen, fighting like hell to save the possibility of the continued existence of life on this planet. I'd hate to go to hell and say I was busy trying to save the Oscars. Mankind, humankind is at stake. So, I say, if necessary, damn the Oscars, full speed ahead to peace.
AMY GOODMAN: Do your friends, your colleagues who are actors feel the pressure right now?
OSSIE DAVIS: I have no way of knowing how they feel, and if I did, I have no -- I would not speak for them at all.
AMY GOODMAN: What are you doing out here today?
OSSIE DAVIS: Oh, I have come to join those who believe that peace is the order of the day, and I want to be, you know, where the action is, and I think this is where it's at. I wouldn't miss this for anything in the world. Peace, peace, peace. This is where it's at, and this is where I am."Preparing mentally, the most important thing is, if you aren't doing it for the love of it, then don't do it." - Benny Urquidez