Beah: A Black Woman Speaks | Chicago Reader

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Biography can not only inspire but also heal, as Lisa Gay Hamilton demonstrates in this 2003 profile of her mentor, actress and black feminist icon Beah Richards. Hollywood often cast Richards as a domestic or a matriarch (as Sidney Poitier's mother in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? she was nominated for an Oscar), yet she excelled at her craft, from her stage debut in James Baldwin's The Amen Corner to her last film, Beloved. Born in the jim crow south, she grew up steeped in familial love and black pride, and exposure to Paul Robeson and W.E.B. DuBois sharpened her political ideas. “We are not actors, so much as be-ers” was a favorite expression, providing the foundation for her acting as well as her activism. 90 min.
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