Friday, May 23, 2008

Leadership 500: Day 1 (Ernie Davis & "The Express")

The 4th Annual NAACP Leadership 500 summit is officially underway. I arrived in Scottsdale Arizona this afternoon just in time for the opening reception where we were greeted by our Interim President Dennis Hayes and NAACP Vice-Chair Roslyn Brock.

After the reception, we all boarded buses for a local theater where we screened a new movie named "The Express", which will open nationwide on October 3rd. The Express is based on the true story of Ernie Davis, the first African American to win the Heisman Trophy. This was the first screening of this movie before an audience (courtesy of Universal Pictures) and it was very well received. The star of the movie, Rob Brown - who also starred in the films Finding Forrester and Coach Carter, was on hand for the screening.

As a bonifide Movie-buff, I can tell you that the Express is a great film that tells a powerful story nearly lost. While I was completely unfamiliar with the story of Ernie Davis, having seen the film, I greatly appreciate the struggles and difficulties he overcame to "do a lot while saying little".

After the film, Rob Brown and Vic Bullock (The NAACP Hollywood Bureau Director), held a question and answer session. Rob Brown also talked about the fact that while there were 6 Black leads in the film, he had to fight to make sure that there were African American faces behind the camera. And while the NAACP Hollywood Bureau works continuously to bring these types of positive images to the public, they each talked about the difficulty in getting positive stories about the African American community greenlighted and how critically important it is for the community to come out and support these efforts.

If we want to continue to see positive images of ourselves on the large and small screen, then it is imperative that we each spread the word about positive films, and moreso, we must make it a point to get out and see the films; particularly on opening weekend.

pictured are Vic Bullock - NAACP Hollywood Bureau, Rob Brown - star of "The Express", "Coach Carter", and "Finding Forrester", and Roslyn Brock - NAACP Vice-Chair

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