Backstage Pass with Lia Chang

Lia Chang: Museum of the Moving Image Presents A Tribute to Ruby Dee on September 21, 2014

Ruby Dee Photo by Lia Chang

Ruby Dee Photo by Lia Chang

The Museum of the Moving Image is presenting A Tribute to Ruby Dee, hosted by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, on Sunday, September 21, 2:30 p.m., at the Museum of the Moving Image, 36-01 35 Avenue, Astoria, NY 11106.

Ruby Dee, the groundbreaking film and theater actor, had a remarkable career that began in the 1940’s, continued through the Civil Rights movement, in which she played a key role both on-screen and off, and did not end until her death at age 91 in June of this year. Her breakthrough film role was as Ruth Younger in A Raisin in the Sun. She frequently appeared on screen and stage with Ossie Davis, her husband and artistic partner for more than 60 years, and received an Oscar nomination for her role as a Harlem drug lord’s loving mother in American Gangster.

This special tribute program will be presented with clips from her films and remarks by actors and directors who worked with Ruby Dee, including a video message from Harry Belafonte. Guest speakers include Woodie King Jr., Darnell Martin, Michael Schultz, and Glynn Turman.

The screening and live event is part of Changing the Picture (2014), sponsored by Time Warner Inc. Organized by Warrington Hudlin, President, Black Filmmaker Foundation.

This special tribute takes place the day after Dee’s star-studded public memorial at Riverside Church, which aired on BET and ran over three hours.

Highlights of the joyful memorial at Riverside Church included musical tributes by Alicia Keys, Wynton Marsalis, Peter Yarrow, Dee’s son, Guy Davis, and a poem by Sonia Sanchez.

Guy Davis, Ruby Dee, Dowoti Desir and Ossie Davis at the opening night party of New Federal Theatre's production of Bill Harris' Robert Johnson: Trick The Devil at the Schomburg in New York in June 1993. Photo by Lia Chang

Guy Davis, Ruby Dee, Dowoti Desir and Ossie Davis at the opening night party of New Federal Theatre’s production of Bill Harris’ Robert Johnson: Trick The Devil at the Schomburg in New York in June 1993. Photo by Lia Chang

Phylicia Rashad, Pauletta Pearson Washington, Elizabeth Van Dyke, Tyne Daly, Kim Fields, S. Epatha Merkerson, Lynn Whitfield, and Susan L. Taylor read Dee’s poetry and prose. New Federal Theatre’s Woodie King, Jr. gave context to Dee’s impact, longtime involvement and contributions to the Black Theater world in his remarks. Former Mayor David Dinkins related a special message from the White House; Glynn Turman shared his remembrances of working with Dee on A Raisin in The Sun and read a message from Sydney Poitier. Harry Belafonte eulogy was played via a special video message.

In her memory, the family suggests that donations be made to the Ruby Dee Memorial Fund at Hunter College, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. or a local community theater.

The Museum is honored to be part of a series of celebrations commemorating Ruby Dee, who truly changed the picture for African-Americans on screen and in society. Tickets: $12 ($9 senior citizens and students / free for Museum members). Order online or call 718 777 6800 to reserve tickets (during regular Museum hours).

Changing the Picture (2014) is an ongoing series celebrates and explores the work of film and television artists of color who are bringing diverse voices to the screen. The series, which consists of screenings and discussions with directors, writers, actors, scholars, and more, includes contemporary work as well as historically significant work that has played an important role in the evolving attempt to “change the picture” and bring a wider variety of voices and visions to the moving image.

Other Articles about Ruby Dee: Ruby Dee, Actress and Activist, 1922 – 2014 Remembering Ruby Dee: A Lifetime of Activism and Artistry Inside Movies Pioneering actress Ruby Dee dies at 91
Ruby Dee dead at 91: Legendary stage and screen actress — and Civil Rights leader — frequently costarred with husband Ossie Davis Oscar Nominee Ruby Dee Dead at 91 Ruby Dee: A ‘force of nature’ in art, life

Other articles by Lia Chang:
Chinese American: Exclusion/Inclusion, On View September 26, 2014 – April 19, 2015 at New York Historical Society
Oct. 5: Meet Award Winning Playwright J.E. Franklin at Booksigning for ‘To Break Every Yoke’ at Castillo Theatre
Woodie King, Jr.’s New Federal Theatre’s 40th Anniversary Gala at Edison Ballroom
Multimedia: The River Crosses Rivers Opening Night Photos
Rome Neal Seriously Injured in Fall; Fundraisers Set at The Five Spot on October 12 and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on November 6
Sept. 27: Yuri Kochiyama Memorial Service at First Corinthian Baptist Church in New York
TCG’s SPARK Leadership Program Class of 2014: Victor Maog, Nelson T. Eusebio III, Godfrey L. Simmons, Jr, Snehal Desai, Deena Selenow, Jacob G. Padrón, Jr., Karena Fiorenza Ingersoll, Kelvin Dinkins, LaTeshia Dezelle Ellerson, Lisa Portes
Video: Jeremy Lin Pranks Visitors at Madame Tussauds San Francisco
Sept. 5 – Oct. 5: Nicole Ari Parker, Esau Pritchett, Thom Sesma, Everett Quinton and More Set for Antony and Cleopatra at McCarter Theatre
Sept. 30 – Nov. 2: André de Shields, Adam Chanler-Berat, Kevin Mambo, Rebecca Naomi Jones, Kyle Beltran & More Set for THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE at The Public 
Oct. 8 – 12: 2014 National Asian American Theater Conference & Festival Lineup
Oct. 10-12: Dan Kwong’s WHAT? NO PING-PONG BALLS? with Kenny Endo at Interact Theatre Company as part of 2014 National Asian American Theater Festival and Conference
David Henry Hwang and Lynn Nottage Appointed to the Playwriting Faculty of Columbia University School of the Arts Theatre Program
Photos & Video: The Wiz’s André De Shields Sang “So You Wanted to Meet the Wizard” in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream at Carnegie Hall 
Joe Mantegna to Helm ‘Criminal Minds’ Season 10 Episode to Honor the late Meshach Taylor
Photos: Maxine Hong Kingston, Billie Tsien, Bill T. Jones, Linda Ronstadt, John Kander, Julia Alvarez, Jeffrey Katzenberg Receive 2013 National Medal of Arts from President Barack Obama 
Golden Globe Winner James Shigeta, Veteran of Film and TV, Dies at 85; Excerpts of 2007 A/P/A Institute Q & A with Sukhdev Sandhu 
Photos: Artist Arlan Huang, One Brush Stroke at a Time Late Night Singing with Garth Kravits at 54 Below with The Skivvies, at Jim Caruso’s Cast Party at Birdland and Michael Raye’s Soul Gathering 
Photos and Video: Ben Vereen Performs at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream 
Photos and Video: Obba Babatunde and cast members from the original cast of Dreamgirls perform at Carnegie Hall in The Black Stars of The Great White Way Broadway Reunion: Live The Dream
Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, President Bill Clinton and More Remember Meshach Taylor
Photos: Meshach Taylor Celebrates 67th Birthday with Arlene and Joe Mantegna, Delta Burke, Gerald McRaney, Jean Smart, Dennis Franz, Ernie Hudson, John Heard, Keith Szarabajka, Stuart Gordon, Shadoe Stevens and More
Bryan Cranston, Audra McDonald, Neil Patrick Harris, Jessie Mueller, Lena Hall, Sophie Okonedo, Kenny Leon, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, All The Way, A Raisin in the Sun, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and More Take Home 2014 Tony Awards 
Crafting a Career
Click here for the Lia Chang Articles Archive and here for the Lia Chang Photography Website.

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang Photo by GK

Lia Chang is an actor, a performance and fine art botanical photographer, and an award-winning multi-platform journalist. Lia starred as Carole Barbara in Lorey Hayes’ Power Play at the 2013 National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, N.C., with Pauletta Pearson Washington, Roscoe Orman, and made her jazz vocalist debut in Rome Neal’s Banana Puddin’ Jazz “LADY” at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York. She is profiled in Jade Magazine.

All text, graphics, articles & photographs: © 2000-2014 Lia Chang Multimedia. All rights reserved. All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Lia Chang. You may not alter or remove any trademark, copyright or other notice from copies of the content. For permission, please contact Lia at

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