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From Paul Robeson

Two Black History Months ago, I learned about Paul Robeson, a man who had real courage and walked away from a prominent career for his principles.  Here’s a quote from him which I found via The Root today:

“In 1939 Paul Robeson retired from the film industry while at the peak of his career and denounced Hollywood.  He said:

I thought I could do something for the Negro race in films – show the truth about them and about other people too.  I used to do my part and go away feeling satisfied – thought everything was O.K.  Well it wasn’t.  The industry is not prepared to permit me to portray the life or express the living interests, hopes and aspirations of the struggling people from whom I come… You bet they well never let me play a part in a film in which a Negro is on top.”

Cinema is a deeply psychologically influential meme machine.  I may not know much, yet I do believe I know for sure that it’s easier and simpler to walk away and say No when you have nothing than it is when you have something.  I have said no when I had nothing; could I say no when I was in Mr. Robeson’s shoes, at the pinnacle of a success?  He was a brave man who had strong beliefs.