What better way to celebrate both Valentines Day and Black History Month, than by honoring one of black Hollywood’s most treasured couples, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.
Both major figures in the New York Theater scene as well as Hollywood, Ossie and Ruby go down in history as the original “black power couple.” They fought McCarthyism and the persecution of Paul Robeson, they rubbed elbows with Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, They were major activists in the fight for Civil Rights as well as participated in the Campaign to free Angela Davis. While their talents we undeniable, so was their dedication to the African American community.
I met both Ossie and Ruby (separately.) I met Ossie when I was about 9 or 10 years old at a hotel in Chicago. My grandfather was receiving an award and Ossie was the guest of honor. I wish I could remember what he said in his speech, but I remember meeting him afterwards and him telling me to be proud of my grandfathers accomplishments and to follow in his footsteps.
Flash forward to September 2010. I was 23. I was working an event and Ruby was there with her grandchildren. I literally sat by her side the entire night, she shared with me stories of her life, and asked me about mine. I had mentioned my Lena Horne play, and she was excited for me, and told me she was proud of me. What more could a girl ask for?
I feel lucky to have been graced by their presence in both the arts and on a personal level. These by chance meetings have definitely helped shape my life.
A big thank you to both Ruby and Ossie for sharing their talents and unselfish hearts with the world.
“I walk in the footsteps of giants.”