Dick Gregory

Recent Articles

Venerable activist Dick Gregory offers words of wisdom

‘Library of Black radical thought’ shared insights 

on sundry topics during his recent visit

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

Dick Gregory first started out as a comedian while serving in the military in the mid-1950s and had become one of the nation’s most popular Black comics — the first to regularly appear on television’s The Tonight Show — before turning to social activism at the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. He ran for U.S. president as a write-in candidate in 1968 and has demonstrated over many human rights issues, including the first of several hunger strikes in 1980 when he tried to help negotiate the U.S. hostages’ release in Iran. A cancer survivor, the 82-year-old Gregory spoke at the University of Minnesota during a Twin Cities visit in late October. Following are excerpts of his remarks during a panel discussion held at the school’s Humphrey Center and a short, exclusive MSR interview. “I hear people say if you want to hide something from a Black person, put it in a book,” said Gregory half joking, drawing on his comedic roots to make a point. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , ,

Brenda Bell Brown: art as a natural part of everyday life

By Dwight Hobbes
Contributing Writer

 

Writer, performer and visual artist Brenda Bell Brown, renowned Twin Cities fixture, utilizes the concepts of art and culture as more than an aesthetic pursuit. She successfully realizes them as a community resource. Point in case, a mere partial listing of her accomplishments includes membership in such prestigious institutions as the Black Storytellers Alliance, the Archie Givens Foundation Black Writers Collaborative, and, in her native Tennessee, the Blues City Cultural Center. She earned as well a 2010 Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership Grant and twice sat as a cultural liaison to the Minnesota State Arts Board. Indeed, to Brown, culture and community are inextricably part and parcel of life itself. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

The Good Wife Works – On soul food

 

 

 

Filmmaker Byron P. Hurt (born 12/31/69) presented his documentary Soul Food Junkies at Macalester College in St. Paul during Black History Month 2013. The film was also shown at the Merriam Park Branch of the St. Paul Public Library during Black History Month, and on PBS. While attending Northeastern University, Hurt decided to discuss his concerns with his father about his father’s health and diet. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Shá Cage solo theatrical debut examines the N word through women’s eyes

 

In Twin Cities spoken word, a field glutted with grandstanding hacks, gifted veteran Shá  Cage is an exception that proves the proverbial rule. Nine out of 10 alleged artists are antagonistic, interminably posturing, self-congratulatory frauds who expect a standing ovation for breathing while Black, substituting a lousy attitude for having something to say. Cage, with her album Amber People (Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records) and scores of guest appearances throughout Minneapolis and St. Paul, not to mention internationally from Africa to Europe to England and elsewhere, refreshingly deals in authenticity, a sure hand for the craft and messages of self-empowerment. Accordingly, her solo debut, N.I.G.G.E.R., was a welcome premiere at Intermedia Arts (March 7 – 10), ably directed by e. g. bailey, her husband and partner at Minnesota Spoken Word Association and Tru Ruts Endeavors, and enjoyed a sold-out run. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Why avoid single mothers?

 

Black men have no business looking down on single sistahs with chirren. Long as I’ve been Black, single moms proved a rule, not an exception. Plenty Black men have been, in fact, raised by a single Black woman, busting her hips, all on her own, to make do for self and the young ’uns. Which is pretty damned hard work. Why they catch more stigma than single mothers of any other color defies reason. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Tavis Smiley film a journey of Black men and cultural crossroads — Stand a soul-music-filled road trip through Civil Rights Movement during 2008 Obama campaign

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

In 2008, broadcaster Tavis Smiley assembled a cross-generational core group — Dick Gregory, Michael Eric Dyson, brothers Cornel and Cliff West, Eddie Glaude, Jr., two college-age young men and others — for “an old-fashioned road trip” across Tennessee that started in Nashville and ended on the balcony outside Room 306 of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968. America also watched a Black man win his party’s presidential nomination during the same time as Smiley’s trip. “Here you have this young Black man [then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama] making his move toward the White House at the same time we are commemorating the 40th anniversary of King’s assassination; that crossroads was intriguing and interesting to me,” Smiley recalls in a recent phone interview with the MSR about Stand, a documentary he directed. It first premiered on TV One in May 2009, and also has been shown multiple times on the Documentary Channel, a channel primarily available on satellite, during March and April of this year. The historic summer of 2008 prompted him “to bring my boys together, to spend some time together, trying to figure out what we make out of this moment,” continues Smiley. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,