The superlative performances in The Actors' Group production of Ma Rainey's Black Bottom were so convincing during opening weekend that when Ma Rainey halted the recording session to demand Coca-Cola from her white producer, a theatergoer left his audience seat to hand her his personal soda can.
While potential moviegoers may share a penchant for idiosyncratic white men and tortured geniuses, they may also enjoy female protagonists and films with casts of color involving themes other than slavery, civil rights, or race relations.
In this very candid interview, Erin talks with me about the need for more racial diversity in entertainment awards nominations and winners, why film and television casting should reflect the American scene and how people can speak up to improve diversity in media.
A lot has changed from the days when we went on foot to agents' offices, checked our answering machines on a pay phone and picked up sides in person. Show business, the last of the handshake businesses, has gone high tech.
Now, Cronkite, by all accounts, was a fine dancer and would no doubt have performed a credible "Put on a Happy Face." But could you imagine Dick tripping over the anchor desk while reporting the death of a president?
The real question isn't why Baptists are behaving like Baptists but rather why Hollywood studios aren't behaving like capitalists, selling more by either getting rid of the bad words or making alternative versions available to consumers like those represented by Lifeway.
No one can be forced to change his or her name because someone else has trademarked it. "Paul McCartney couldn't stop people who are named Paul McCartney and sing from using his name... [but] you couldn't perform under the name The Beatles."