JACKSON, Mississippi (AP) -- Beah Richards, whose acting career spanned three decades in films including "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" (1967) and "Beloved" (1998) has died. She was 74.
First off let me say that I was a fan of this lady.
Not only because she was a great actress, poet and writer, but also for what she represented.
During the 1960's when I was growing up, it seemed like anytime there was a TV show or a movie, where there was a Black family, she played the mother.
During the 70's and 80's she continued in that vein, usually playing the grandmother. She ALWAYS played such roles with DIGNITY.
During the 1960's I can remember it being a pretty big deal in the Davis household when there would be a Black family shown during an episode of network TV and we would usually watch the program, even if it was something that we didn't usually watch.
It seemed like Beah Richards was always there.
And for me she and other actors of that timeframe were pioneers, not so much because they had been "first", but because they were usually playing Black people who were "normal". This meant that eventually there would come a period of time where being a "normal Black person" might not be such a big deal to show on TV anymore. Yall know that generation of actors I'm talking about, people like Diana Sands, Godfrey Cambridge, Robert Hooks, Ivan Dixon, Barbara McNair, and others. These people didn't go on to become big stars, but they broke big ground, usually playing secondary characters in movies and TV shows from that timeframe.
Beah Richards was in that group, except her career had more staying power than most and she was also a little older.
So why am I angry you might be wondering, after all she was an old lady and had probably lived a very fulfilling life?
I just got thru surfing the net for about 1/2 hr looking for a picture of Beah Richards on the internet.
(I couldn't find ONE LOUSY PICTURE OF HER!!!!!!!!)
Once again I ask the question...
"WHAT THE F*** IS WRONG WITH US"?
I'd be willing to bet that I could find 1,000 pictures of DMX on the web, but I can't find ONE of Beah Richards.
This is telling me that not ONE Black person out there had the decency to give props to a STRONG Black woman, who certainly has enriched most of our lives with her excellent portrayals of older Black women, who had STRENGTH and CHARACTER, during a time frame in amerikkkan history, when it wasn't politically correct.
Surely she must have had to FIGHT the Hollywood system in order to insure that she could always play these kind of roles (and NOT the "mammy"roles) with beauty and dignity. Surely she lost out on many lucrative movie/tv roles because she took such a stand?
I am PISSED OFF right now, because not ONE Black person of the MILLIONS who are on the internet thought it was a good idea to place a picture of Beah Richards on the internet.
What a SHAMEFUL thing for our people.
(this is something you CAN'T blame the white man for)
Well I'll tell ya what....
Sometime before this weekend is over, I know of ONE Black man who is GOING to have a picture of Beah Richards up on his website....
Yeah, I realize I'm just some "old fart", who may not exactly be "with it…"
BUT I really do realize that in today's "technologically advanced world", DMX is probably more important to Black people than Beah Richards is...and it's probably a LOT more important to put up picture number 1,001 of DMX on the web than to put up ONE picture of Beah Richards on the web!
(and I really do think that is something we should be ASHAMED of...)
"Having grown up in a racist culture where 2 and 2 are not 5, I have found life to be incredibly theatrical and theater to be profoundly lifeless…"