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Trey Ellis
Trey Ellis is a novelist, screenwriter, essayist and professor at Columbia University. He is the
author of Bedtime Stories: Adventures in the Land of Single-Fatherhood
(Rodale). His acclaimed first novel, Platitudes, was reissued by Northeastern University Press along with his influential essay, "The New Black Aesthetic." He is also the author of Home Repairs and Right Here, Right Now which was a recipient of the American Book Award. His work for the screen includes the Emmy nominated Tuskegee Airmen, and Good Fences starring Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg which was shortlisted for the PEN award for Best Teleplay of the year. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Vanity Fair, GQ, Playboy, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, among others and he has contributed audio commentary to NPR's All Things Considered. His first play, Fly, was produced and performed at the Lincoln Center Institute. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and three children where he is an Associate Professor of Film at Columbia University. You can learn more about his work at Trey

Entries by Trey Ellis

White Actors Again Puzzled by Blacademy Award Snubs

(76) Comments | Posted January 15, 2016 | 7:25 AM

It was déjà vu all over again, as white baseball great Yogi Berra once put it, as the Blacademy Awards for the second year in a row failed to nominate a single white actor for any of its highest honors. Before even being asked to comment again this year, the...

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White Actors Shut Out At Blacademy Awards

(108) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 7:30 AM

Hollywood was abuzz this morning at the seeming snub of white actors at the announced nominations for the 87th Blacademy Awards. Across four acting categories, all twenty nominees were black.

"It's not that white actors weren't good enough," said a Blacademy spokesperson, "It's just that there were a lot...

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Black Men Don't Need a Guardian Angel. Who We Need Is Our Guardian Slave.

(436) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 11:06 AM

From 12 to 50 it's assumed we're packing, assumed that like the Hulk or zombies we possess superhuman, virtually unstoppable destructive power. So where an average citizen may disagree, even argue and berate a police officer, treating them as the public servant that they indeed are, a black...

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Why Kansas City Swing Means So Much to Me

(3) Comments | Posted October 19, 2013 | 11:38 AM

I've written books, movies and TV shows since I was in my twenties but
came to writing plays relatively recently. So to be here today with two plays running in the country at the same time is an extraordinary honor. My first play, Fly, was first commissioned by...

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I Miss the Shutdown Already

(7) Comments | Posted October 17, 2013 | 6:41 PM

Ladies and gentlemen, I've been lightly depressed. This fall, the president's agenda, which I support, was supported by fewer other Americans than at any other time in his two terms. The Tea Party's relentless asymmetric warfare against the rest of us had thus far been devastatingly successful. Their nihilistic brand...

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Dudes! Lose That Gut!

(15) Comments | Posted June 11, 2013 | 7:56 PM

Bikini-clad women will be hitting the beaches, but to get close to them you'll have to look the part. --Men's Fitness


Dudes! Tried eating like a caveman but still packed on the pounds? Embarrassed trying to choke down an absolutely raw 24-oz porterhouse with a handful...

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Django Surprised Me

(493) Comments | Posted December 11, 2012 | 8:12 AM

Like every other black filmmaker and/or self-appointed guardian of black cultural treasures, I was as worried as I was delighted when I heard Quentin Tarantino's next film would be a slave-narrative-cum-spaghetti-western. He's easily one of the most exciting filmmakers in the history of cinema, and much of that excitement comes...

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Obama Could've Closed the Deal Last Night... But Didn't

(46) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 2:32 PM

Like every other American left terrified by the previous debate -- having stared into the abyss of the likelihood of a Romney presidency -- last night I cheered the TV as the president battled back against a privileged, spoiled bully. Last night Obama did most everything he needed to do...

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Movie Review: 2 Days in New York

(3) Comments | Posted August 13, 2012 | 2:24 PM

You know it's 2012 when Chris Rock and Julie Delpy star in a romantic comedy. 2 Days in New York is not only the funniest but the most contemporary and authentic romantic comedy to come out in years. It's not mumbly and twee like so many twenty-something indie relationship pics,...

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We Need a Cause More Than a Candidate

(525) Comments | Posted July 5, 2012 | 8:11 AM

The malaise is palpable, from both sides. Mitt Romney is clearly a consolation prize to every single member of the GOP except twenty or so CEOs, while for many on the other side the almost impossible magic of electing a young, charismatic black man as leader of the free world...

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Blacks and the Business of Baseball

(2) Comments | Posted May 30, 2012 | 12:57 PM

I've just finished a new play called, Kansas City Swing, that takes place in 1947, the year Jackie Robinson entered Major League Baseball. My play, however, is about that other great black superstar, Satchel Paige, and his long-standing rivalry with Bob Feller, two of the very best pitchers in the...

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Romney's Business Plan: Sell Us for Parts

(188) Comments | Posted May 16, 2012 | 1:51 PM

Either Romney doesn't understand the words coming out of his mouth, he's just pretending not to understand the words coming out of his mouth, or he's the worst businessman ever. It's hard to believe it's the latter. You'd think someone whose entire wealth, his $22 million a year, $60,000 a...

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Key and Peele Bring Comedy Into the Future

(19) Comments | Posted March 13, 2012 | 12:25 PM

It's still hard for me to believe that we're already a dozen years into the twenty-first millennium. I mean, just look around. We've got Romney and Santorum trying to pull us back into the 1950s while Gingrich dreams of a grand return to the 1850s. If it weren't for a...

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Seamus Speaks!

(8) Comments | Posted February 22, 2012 | 4:23 PM

Oh this is gonna be great, gonna be great, great, great. Or as my noble forefathers on the Emerald Isle used to say before hitting the open road, "May the cat eat you and the devil eat the cat." The boys and the Mistress are excited as well. Master is...

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Irresistible Newt

(26) Comments | Posted February 1, 2012 | 1:30 PM

"So, as far as I can tell, judging from the psychological data, we have only one real risk to America from his marital history if Newt Gingrich were to become president: We would need to worry that another nation, perhaps a little younger than ours, would be so taken by...
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The Tuskegee Airmen Are for Everyone

(7) Comments | Posted January 31, 2012 | 11:16 AM

With George Lucas's admirable media blitz for Red Tails I'm asked a lot these days my thoughts on this new telling of their awe-inspiring true story. See, I'm kind of obsessed. Not only did I help bring their story to HBO in 1995 as The Tuskegee Airmen, but...

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Why I Miss Venice Beach

(4) Comments | Posted December 20, 2011 | 5:19 PM


I've been back East for the last six years, Manhattan for five, then last fall missed the water so much I moved to the beaches of Westport, Connecticut. It's beautiful here but the Long Island Sound ain't no Pacific.

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Obama's Still Missing Ingredient

(8) Comments | Posted December 12, 2011 | 12:15 PM

The Kansas speech and his 60 Minutes interview should begin to thaw if not reignite the once white-hot enthusiasm Obama's base has had for him. If he continues to stay on message, forcefully addressing income inequality and positioning himself as the champion of the...

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Easy Way for Obama to Regain Student Love

(0) Comments | Posted November 23, 2011 | 2:38 PM

The upcoming Obama/Romney title bout might very well go down as the least enthusiastic in years. The right will hold their noses and vote R while the left will hold their noses and vote D, each side angry, scared, frustrated and unenthused. We're on track for an agonizing squeaker, a...

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GOP's War on Working Americans: Our Best Path to Victory

(131) Comments | Posted October 26, 2011 | 2:45 PM

Of Obama's winning coalition, first progressives and independents, then rank and file Democrats started souring on the president, seeing his cabinet, his economic policy choices too closely aligned with those of Wall Street. All the GOP had to do was lay low, just keep restating that they were against an...

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