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Saturday, February 05, 2005

Ossie Davis

Steve Gilliard writes of Ossie Davis' passing:

Acting may have been his job, but his life was about serving his people, both blacks and New York. He never courted controversy, but he never shied away from the controversal. He was at home on the stage and next to everyone from Bayard Rustin to Al Sharpton. Unlike so many today, he didn't think politics was a bad thing. But he didn't wear them on his his sleeve like some, either.

In his passing, we can reflect how so many performers today are so cowardly. They only care about their money and their homes. Davis and his wife cared about the world around them, and his legacy of commitment, courage and support reflect a life well lived.


I never knew about Ossie Davis until that Burt Reynold's show, Evening Shade, I believe. I was a fascinated viewer of that show, in part because we have an Evening Shade here, but also because it was really a pretty funny show. At least if you're a hillbilly. Kind of like an all grown up Mayberry.

More important, however, is that, although I was unaware of all of Davis' activities, I was aware that political activism and acts of generosity and grassroots progressivism were simply a part of the general overall atmosphee, even in the worst of times. But that sure has changed.

Sure, my perspective is slanted because I rarely see television --- I can't get it out here unless I want to put up a satellite dish bigger than my home [an old redneck stereotype which is absolutely true]. And when I do see it, I'm horrified by what those people look like. They're emaciated. Nipped and tucked and siliconed and hairdoed and implanted until they're not even human. 30 year olds who look 65 because everything's been pinned up so tightly.

They don't *do* activism. I'm not sure they even have the ability to comprehend what's happening in this world or to understand what extraordinary times these are.

I think I took the Ossie Davises a bit too much for granted. But not anymore. Yes he lived a good life. But his passing signifies the loss of yet one more shaper of a landscape which we are now seeing destroyed.

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