FAMOUS BLACK ENTERTAINERS OF TODAY by Raoul Abdul

FAMOUS BLACK ENTERTAINERS OF TODAY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In his eighteen profiles of black entertainers Abdul happily passes by the overexploited stars of the past and focuses on significant artists involved in shaping theatre, dance, and music today. In skillfully handled interviews interspersed with summarizing background, Abdul introduces young readers to dance directors Alvin Alley and Arthur Mitchell, opera soprano Martina Arroyo, filmmaker Melvin van Peebles, and others. Included are Super Fly actor Ron O'Neal and actress Cicely Tyson who deplores Super Fly's effect on youth while acknowledging that ""it took that film. . . to bring (O'Neal) to the attention of the public."" Perhaps the angriest is Ellis Haizlip, executive producer of TV's Soul, who asserts that blacks are disappearing from TV as a result of a general public reaction against progressive policies of the recent past, and insists that the only remedy is to ""remove nonblacks from the decision-making processes that affect us."" More often these successful artists emphasize that ""racial prejudice is something to go beyond,"" that the important thing is ""finding out how significant your ability is"" and projecting the ""fundamental human emotions"" that a black performer shares, for example, with Beethoven or Lear. The inclusion of Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and Flip Wilson provides a bridge for young people who need it, but Abdul (who doesn't hesitate to contribute opinions of his own in passing) makes all eighteen accessible.

Pub Date: March 31st, 1974
Page count: 151pp
Publisher: Dodd, Mead