HELLO AMERICA!—When watching film “42” based on the professional life of baseball icon JACKIE ROBINSON, I was reminded of the power and determination it took and still does to rise above ignorance, racists, sick-minded people who are stuck in the mud of programming which effects the freedom and progress of some of our most gifted people in America. I found myself fighting back tears remembering the journey many of us took and still continue to do so in receiving the respect as well as the opportunity to reveal our god given talent as musicians, writers, artists worthy of a front door entrance into the world of artistic recognition.
Since I grew up during the 1940s, 10 miles outside of Philadelphia, I remember the difficulties with which I was forced to deal, just to get a position on a television show (PAUL WHITEMAN TV TEEN CLUB SHOW-CBS), as well as a radio show (THE CHILDRENS HOUR-NBC) cast member offering new young talent. I remember meeting “Rachel” the widow of Jackie Robinson.
Based on her very close friendship with my sister “Shirley Poole,” who helmed the “National One Hundred Women Organization” serving professional women nationwide. They are still a very powerful group of females who get things done as well as changed.
Hearing about Jackie Robinson’s struggle during 1947 and what he had to face as well as how he dealt with his determination to survive in that kind of jungle of darkness, simply because he decided to fight no matter what the sacrifice was to maintain his place in a society which touted freedom and respect for all people under a flag of red, white and blue accompanied with the song “My Country Tis Of Thee,” somehow, energized whatever natural power I possessed, served me well when arriving in Hollywood, facing the serious challenge of becoming recognized as a contributing factor to the motion picture industry.
Watching the film “42” made me realize what effect we all have on each other. Obviously, Robinson affected me quite seriously as a 12 year-old kid with dreams. I didn’t think twice when applying for a job in the script department at CBS radio while a student at U.S.C. and I got it. Upon graduation I applied for a spot in the 20th Century Fox PR Department, got it, Assistant in Casting at MGM, got it, and became first Black TV director at NBC during the early 1970s and was again accepted. All of these opportunities presented daily challenges, as you might guess but I refused to allow them to interrupt the journey. After all, Jackie Robinson’s survival methods represented a Master’s class in that area of life.
Now I along with a loyal group of creative artists who are embarking on one helluva challenge involving the production of my play “I FEEL SIN COMIN’ ON” based on my book “HOLLYWOOD THROUGH THE BACK DOOR,” scheduled to premiere in Atlanta, Georgia in March 2018. To make this happen, it took the support and respect from industry people such as Ruta Lee, Leon Isaac Kennedy, Marla Gibbs (“The Jefferson’s” TV series) and so many other talented theatre and film notables. I will forever be grateful to Jackie Robinson for his input in making me remember who I am as a human being with hopes and dreams as anyone else. HEY! THE POWER OF “42.”