Celebrating Chadwick and Cicely
PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP w/ HARLEM WEEK,
REELBLACK TV AND FILMMAKER SAFIYA SONGHAI
ImageNation is proud to join Harlem Week in saluting the lives and legacies of two of our brightest luminaries, Mr. Chadwick Boseman (1976-2020) and Ms. Cicely Tyson (1924-2021). Each leaves behind cinematic and community legacies that resonate deeply with the Harlem residents and the world at large. ImageNation was asked to curate films in their honor. We decided to diverge from their more popular works to curate rarely screened jewels, featuring Boseman and Tyson. Each day, from August 8 thru August 15, we'll post a new work below. Please join us for this virtual celebration.
We thank our partner Reelblack TV for assisting with films on Cicely Tyson, and filmmaker Safiya Songhai for contributing her early works featuring Chadwick Boseman. Click here or scroll down to learn more about our programming partners.
Sunday, August 8 - Celebrating Cicely, Carib Gold
directed by Harold Young, 1956, USA
Watch Cicely Tyson perform in her very first movie role as Dottie in Carib Gold, a maritime-themed movie, written and filmed almost entirely in Key West, Florida, with locally-cast musicians and extras. Its cast is largely African-American headlined by Ethel Waters and features the first known film roles for both Geoffrey Holder and Cicely Tyson. The story was written by Navy veteran Charles Gossett.
Monday, August 9 - Celebrating Chadwick, "Everything"
directed by Safiya Songhai, 8 min., 2002, USA
Tuesday, August 10 - Celebrating Cicely, The River Niger
The River Niger
directed by Krishna Shah, 1976, USA
The River Niger is a 1976 film adaptation of the 1972 Joseph A. Walker play of the same title. The film starred James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, and Louis Gossett, Jr. The River Niger had a limited commercial release in 1976 and has rarely been seen in later years. The soundtrack is by War, including the theme song "River Niger".
Wednesday, August 11 - Celebrating Cicely, Just An Old Sweet Song
Just an Old Sweet Song
directed by Robert Ellis Miller; written by Melvin Van Peebles, 78 min, USA
Originally telecast September 14, 1976, as a CBS "General Electric Theater" special, Just an Old Sweet Song was the first of three pilots for Down Home, a proposed TV series created by filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles. Robert Hooks and Cicely Tyson star as Nate and Priscilla Simmons, the patriarch and matriarch of a middle-class Detroit family. Upon learning that their grandmother (Beah Richards) is not long for this world, Nate and Priscilla pack up their kids and head down South. Eventually, the family rediscovers its African-American roots and elects to stay in their new rural surroundings. Robert Hooks' real-life sons (Kevin and Eric Hooks) appear as his screen sons, Junior and Highpockets. Just an Old Sweet Song was followed by two 60-minute sequels in 1978: Kinfolks (in which Madge Sinclair replaced Cicely Tyson as Priscilla Simmons) and Down Home. Alas, none of the three films yielded a weekly series.
Thursday, August 12 - Celebrating Chadwick, Lady Like
directed by Safiya Songhai, 5 min., 2003, USA
'Youth Story' Winner of the One Nation Many Voices Online Film Contest, "Ladylike" by Safiya Songhai. Sometimes it is the person you least expect who will give you the shirt off of their back.
Friday, August 13 - Celebrating Cicely, "Morning for Jimmy"
A Morning for Jimmy
directed by Barry K. Brown, 29 min., 1960, USA
Tells the story of an African American youth named Jimmy who encounters racial discrimination in his search for employment. Although the boy's father tries to persuade his son to accept the reality of racial inequality as a fact of life, others encourage Jimmy to pursue his dream of becoming an architect. Jimmy's teacher introduces him to several African Americans in skilled professions, inspiring Jimmy to continue to strive to achieve his goals. This film was sponsored by the National Urban League in conjunction with its Tomorrow's Scientists and Technicians (TST) program.
Saturday, August 14 - Celebrating Chadwick "Moses Pie"
directed by Safiya Songhai, 10 min., 2004, USA
Moses Pie follows Chadwick Boseman as he works at the Schomburg Center, teaching drama to youth in Harlem.
Sunday, August 15 - Celebrating Cicely, "No Hiding Place"
"No Hiding Place" (available 8/15)
directed by various, 1963, USA
"No Hiding Place" featuring Cicely Tyson, Ruby Dee, and Earl Hyman is an episode of East Side/West Side an American drama series starring George C. Scott, Elizabeth Wilson, and later on, Linden Chiles. The series aired for one season (1963–64) and was shown Monday nights on CBS. Set in New York City, the show explored issues of urban life, some of them grim. Though it won critical praise, it also generated some controversy. TV Guide ranked it #6 on their 2013 list of 60 shows that were "Cancelled Too Soon". An upwardly mobile black family moves into a previously all-white neighborhood in suburban Long Island, New York. Chuck and Anne Severson, who are Neil's friends, at first welcome them to the neighborhood, even though some of their friends and neighbors don't want the black family there. However, when local real estate agents start "blockbusting"--the practice of scaring white homeowners into selling their homes for less than they're worth by raising the prospect of more blacks moving into the neighborhood and lowering property values, then selling the homes at vastly inflated prices to those same black families--Chuck and Anne must decide whether their stand against racism is worth losing the investment they have in their home.
Safiya Songhai, MFA is a narrative film director, university professor, and Emmy Award-winning producer, and broadcast journalist for international news.
Songhai began her narrative filmmaking career while a co-ed at Howard University and later at New York University's MFA in film program. While studying under legends like Haile Gerima, Spike Lee, Ntozake Shange and John Singleton, Songhai made her first films with Chadwick Boseman.
These films, "Everything", "Ladylike", and "Moses Pie", all produced in the early 2000's, mark Boseman's first on-camera roles. "Moses Pie" is a cinéma vérité documentary on illustrating Boseman's technique as an acting instructor at the Schomberg Library Young Scholar's Program.
Songhai is a Professor of Media Production at the University of Nevada.
Founded by film maker, historian and curator, Michael J. Dennis, Reel Black TV recently celebrated reaching 1 million subscribers on its YouTube channel. Reelblack's mission is to educate, enlighten, entertain and empower people through Black film. Since 2007, we have been capturing the New Black Film Revolution through interviews with the filmmakers, actors and musicians that make up the movement. In addition to our original content, we dig through archives to share video and music relevant to these conversations. Reel Black is a celebrated space for lovers of Black cinema and culture.
HARLEM WEEK is an annual celebration of the best of Harlem which works to promote its rich African-American, African, Caribbean, Hispanic, and European history, as well as arts, culture, religion, business, entertainment, and sports. HARLEM WEEK began in 1974 as HARLEM DAY, a one-day event of encouragement and fellowship in Harlem for New Yorkers and beyond. Given the huge success of the celebration, additional days were added to showcase the community’s rich economic, political, and cultural history. During our 46 years of producing HARLEM WEEK, the event has grown from a one-day event to a month-long festival and now, as an eight-day live and virtual event. We look forward to you joining us this year to experience the 47th Annual HARLEM WEEK as we celebrate with our theme: Rebirth. Rebuild. Rejoice.