Black History Month: February 2023
To recall and celebrate the positive contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week beginning on Feb. 12, 1926. In 1976, as part of the nation's bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month.
TODAY'S SPOTLIGHT ON
Actor/comedian Chris Rock discovered his talent early in life, and was performing in the New York stand-up comedy circuit by his late teens. Eventually, Rock met veteran comedian Eddie Murphy, who cast him in 1987's Beverly Hills Cop II. Later, Murphy helped Rock land a spot on NBC's Saturday Night Live. Rock became a household name after his hit HBO comedy special Bring on the Pain! It led to the equally-popular Chris Rock Show, which also ran on HBO. Rock's films include Lethal Weapon, Dogma, Nurse Betty, Bad Company, Head of State, The Madagascar film series, I Think I Love My Wife, Death at a Funeral, Grown Ups, its sequel Grown Ups 2, Top Five and Spiral. Rock has received multiple accolades, including three Grammy Awards for best comedy album and four Primetime Emmy Awards as well as a Golden Globe Award nomination. He was ranked No. 5 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time. He also ranked No. 5 on Rolling Stone's list of the 50 Best Stand-Up Comics of All Time. Chris Rock is worth $60 million.
CHRIS ROCK QUOTES:
- Rock on women: “Women are like the police, they could have all the evidence in the world but they still want the confession.”
- Rock on exercise: “Don't exercise much. It's not really funny. Jim Carrey looks like he's in pretty good shape, but traditionally, funny guys have never been buff. Why do people do yoga? It clears their minds. I embrace the clutter in my head. I like it. What funny guy's got it all together?”
- Rock on music: “I love music. Music is the soundtrack to the crappy movie that is my life.”
- Rock on his name: “It's my real name. My mother's name is Rose Rock. It was the worst name as a kid to have. They called me Piece of the Rock, Plymouth Rock, Joe Rockid, and Flintstones. Now they call me MISTER Rock.”
CHRIS ROCK TRIVIA:
- Born: February 7th, 1966 in Georgetown, South Carolina. Was raised in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.
- Discovered by Eddie Murphy and made his big screen debut in Beverly Hills Cop II in 1987
- Has written a book, Rock This, and released three comedy albums: 1991's Born Suspect, 1997's Roll With The New, and 1999's Bigger & Blacker.
- Oldest of six children and his father who was a truck driver died in 1989.
- Made his directorial debut in 2003's Head Of State.
- He has two children with ex wife Malaak Compton Rock.
- Received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame on March 12th, 2003.
CHRIS ROCK AUDIO:
- Chris Rock on acting: Rock admits acting is a challenge and that he does need more experience, he also says it is not as difficult as many claim: “How hard is acting? It's not as hard as working. Really, no one should say that acting's 'hard.' It can be tiring because, you know, your hours are long and what not, but you know. There was a guy… you know, this (the interview site) used to be a regular room with a couch and a chair and a bed, and somebody had to rearrange the whole thing. That's hard.”
- Rock on Acting 2: On his willingness to listen: “Yeah, I mean you gotta prepare. As hard as it is to be good at anything, you gotta really prepare — you gotta over-prepare — and you have to listen to people that are smarter than you. This is not my thing. Morgan Freeman's (a) great actor — whatever he says, listen to him. Whatever (Nurse Betty director) Neil LaBute says, listen to him, you know? And I hope they would do the same thing when it's time to tell jokes.”
- Rock on not doing bad movies: “I don't really spend that much money, which is a good thing because when you don't spend much money, then you can say no to bad scripts. You don't have to do a bad TV show. You don't have to go on tour when you have no material. You can just say no… a lot. Pick your shots. So, you know, I have a nice watch, but it's not a diamond-studded Rolex that costs $40,000. I could buy one, but then I'd have to do some bad movies.”
- Rock on not taking himself too seriously: “I'm just a comedian — we dis ourselves, you know? I can't really walk through life thinking that I deserve this. That would make me an idiot, wouldn't it? Yeah, I work hard, but do I deserve this? Do I deserve to make all this money? Do I deserve to live the way I live, really? My brother Andre works just as hard as me. My brother Tony works just as hard as me. I know people who… people in this room work just as hard as me. I don't deserve all of this, so I beat myself.”
- Chris Rock on Jussie Smollett: “They said 'No Jussie Smollett jokes' … What a waste of light skin. Do you know what I could do with that light skin? That curly hair? My career would be out of here! I'd be running Hollywood.” ( 0:20 OC: … “running Hollywood.”)
ON THIS DAY IN BLACK HISTORY:
- In 1760, Richard Allen born in slavery in Philadelphia.
- In 1817, Frederick Douglass, abolitionist and orator, was possibly born.
- In 1867, Morehouse College organized in Augusta, Georgia. The institution was later moved to Atlanta. New registration law in Tennessee abolished racial distinctions in voting.
- In 1936, National Negro Congress organized at Chicago meeting attended by 817 delegates representing more than 500 organizations. Asa Phillip Randolph of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters was elected president of the new organization.
- In 1946, Entertainer and dancer Gregory Hines born.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH QUESTION OF THE DAY:
Author, educator and civil rights activist W.E.B. DuBois published which collection of essays and sketches in 1903?
A) Native Son
B) Notes of a Native Son
C) The Souls of Black Folk
The answer is C: The Souls of Black Folk. DuBois was one of the leading African-American writers of his time, and he was the first black to earn at PhD at Harvard University. The novel Native Son by Richard Wright was published in 1940. Notes of a Native Son, a collection of essays by James Baldwin, was published in 1955.
BLACK HISTORY MONTH FACT OF THE DAY:
- Mickey Mouse: Some scholars have suggested that Mickey Mouse, one of the best-known and most-beloved icons, is African American. Why? The Disney cartoon character's black body and oversized head are reminiscent of negative stereotypical images of African-Americans. Also, in Mickey's first appearance in an animated cartoon with sound, Steamboat Willie, he wears out-size shoes and sings “Turkey in the Straw,” both characteristics of minstrel shows. This case is supported by the later addition of white gloves to Mickey's outfit. John Updike, a novelist, has written, “Like America, Mickey has a lot of black blood.”
BLACK HISTORY MONTH SPOTLIGHT:
George Foreman is a heavyweight boxer who won the world championship as a 24-year-old, lost it a year later, and then improbably won it back 20 years later at the age of 45. In recent years, he's become a pitchman for a variety of products and he is interested in fighting again. Foreman recently said if he can lose about 50 pounds, he wants to fight again to show young people that there's no reason to fear getting older. Foreman hasn't fought since 1997 when he lost his heavyweight title to Shannon Briggs. He left the ring with a 76-5 record with 68 knockouts.