Ryan Coogler, director the film ‘Fruitvale Station’, & Cecil Brown
Yesterday evening, I attended the premier of the Oscar Grant film Fruitvale Station. Years before Oscar Grant was even born, Richard Pryor warned the black community of police brutality. He joked publicly about how the police kill black people and claim it was an “accident.” The officer who killed Oscar Grant claimed it was an “accident.”
White cops always claimed it was an accident when they kill black people. Richard made us laugh about this cosmic excuse years ago. “How can you just make a mistake and kill a nigger? Ooops! my gun just went off and killed a few niggers” he exclaimed, causing all of those who were listening to laugh. He made us aware of the inhumane way that white policemen treat black people when they are stopped. Richard told us how to react when the police ask us our identification. We know that before we can reach for our driver licenses, we must yell loud so that everybody can hear us, I AM REACHING FOR MY DRIVER’S LICENSE!
The movie about Oscar Grant’s tragic life, however, was not funny. Even as you sat in the audience, you hear the tears of people crying in the darkened theater. The film was gripping and emotionally draining.
Cecil Brown & Cephus Johnson, Oscar Grant’s uncle.
I asked Cephus, Oscar’s uncle, if he thought white Americans would embrace the film. Yes, he said, because it is a story that all people can relate to. He said that the audience in Cannes loved it, including the white audience. In my book, Pryor Lives!, I tie Richard’s theme of police brutality to Oscar Grant, and other murders of black men in this country.
Here is Rashaan, Cecil, Marie Zenovich, the director of the new Richard Pryor documentary Omit the Logic, and Stan Shaw.
Thom Mount was Richard’s favorite producer. Here he is in between Cecil, Rashaan, and Stan Shaw. He produced the movies, Bill Durham, a romantic comedy about baseball, Which Way Is Up?, and 10 other films that Richard starred in.
Here is Cecil, with Sara Hutchison, the producer of Omit the Logic.
This is Stan Shaw, one of Richard’s best friends who also starred with him in several movies.