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Tuesday, February 17, 2015 | 7 pm | UW-Parkside Cinema
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside College of Arts and Humanities is honored to welcome Muta'Ali Muhammad for the Wisconsin premiere of his film Life's Essentials with Ruby Dee (2014, 90 minutes) as part of our campus-wide celebration of Black History Month.
For more than a half century, audiences have been mesmerized by the love story between Hollywood legends Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Now, their grandson Muta’Ali Muhammad unearths the foundation of this unbreakable bond in the documentary Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee. Through intimate conversations with the award-winning actor, playwright and activist, Muta’Ali not only discovers intimate details about his grandparents’ relationship, but also questions his ability to carry on the very dynasty that gave him life.
In the film, the director breaks the wall between himself and his subject to ask heartfelt questions of his grandmother. “How do you stay faithful? And if I can’t see myself doing that, how can I honestly get married knowing that I could eventually break the heart of the woman I love?”
“I can’t say I didn’t do anything to make Ossie unhappy…” Ms. Dee states as she carefully reveals the core commitment made between her and Mr. Davis. Her answer only sparked more questions for Muta’Ali, provoking him to dig deeper into the family archives and the history of Davis and Dee’s union. He chronicles their remarkable journey as trailblazers in the arts community and activists in the Civil Rights Movement. Muta’Ali also shares exclusive video footage, family photos and memorabilia. In addition, a host of celebrity friends like Alan Alda, Angela Bassett, Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Hill Harper, Samuel Jackson, Spike Lee, S. Epatha Merkerson, Phylicia Rashad, Glynn Turman, Dr. Cornel West, Sonia Sanchez and Malik Yoba share eyewitness accounts of this American legacy.
Muta’Ali brilliantly captures his grandmother’s perspective about life’s essentials: love, marriage, commitment, conscious art and activism. The film preserves the wisdom of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee for many longing to create a tradition of rich living that impacts today’s society.
Join us for an exclusive screening at the UW-Parkside Student Center Cinema, Tuesday, February 17, 2015, at 7 pm., followed by a Q&A session with director Muta'Ali and producer Jevon "NJ" Frank.
MUTA'ALI MUHAMMAD (director)
JEVON "NJ" FRANK (producer)
Samuel L. Jackson
Woodie King Jr.
S. Epatha Merkerson
Marc H. Morial
Tommy Wallace Jr.