Archives for June 2015

In Charleston, when politics is personal

CHARLESTON, SC — WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis in Charleston for the funeral for Rev. Clementa Pinckney. Hear her comments on how the events of Charleston have impacted the nation both politically and personally.

Is diversity on Broadway – onstage and in the audience — here to stay?

When legendary Broadway producer David Merrick revived the flagging box-office and pizzazz for his long-running musical “Hello, Dolly!” by casting Pearl Bailey to play the lead character originated by Carol Channing and, with Cab Calloway, lead an all-black cast, he was thinking bottom line. It is, after all, show business.

Being 1967 America, in the middle of civil rights change, there were arguments among those of every color on whether the production — with no mention of racism and prejudice – was a retrograde throwback to segregation or a breath of fresh air. Of course, since the default in America was “white,” the same discussions never happened with Channing’s all-white cast.

But what finally counted was the overwhelming response from audiences, who just wanted to be entertained. The show drew not only traditional (read white) theater-goers but also people of color, thrilled to pay the price of a Broadway ticket to see something at once different and familiar. It worked for my mother, who dragged her young daughter (actually, we were co-conspirators) on a train from Baltimore to New York to see “Dolly!” and other shows, igniting a taste for Broadway and a desire to seek out theater that was more multi-colored than the nickname “Great White Way” would indicate.

In 2015, Broadway is taking renewed notice in how to present entertaining, sometimes challenging fare and keep a diverse, global audience interested. That might mean singer Brandy taking a turn in the long-running “Chicago” or NeNe Leakes of “Real Housewives” coming on board in the final month as the wicked stepmother in the multiracial cast of the now-closed “Cinderella,” one with KeKe Palmer, an African-American princess, in the starring role.

A Debate on Race and the Confederate Flag

CHARLOTTE, NC — The killings of 9 people at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston has once again sparked a national debate on the issue of race.

A big issue in that debate… the Confederate Flag. A symbol of Southern pride and heritage to some, a symbol of racism and hate to others.

WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis is in the studio to discuss how the issue of race is now also a political issue.

Sorry, grown-ups. Young people can’t solve America’s race challenges alone

When it comes to moving past America’s troubling history—written in words and blood—and its struggle to achieve goals of racial equality, young people have the answers, adults have rationalized. The next generations will be better, more accepting of a diverse society because they are already living it, right? Well, no.

Dylann Roof, the young man who has confessed to conflicting carnage and trauma in a Charleston, S.C., church, was just 21. The barely legal man, who joined a prayer meeting for nearly an hour before methodically executing the young and the old, is a skinny kid with a goofy bowl haircut whose body looked lost in baggy prison clothes. Being part of a generation that attended integrated schools— including the high school he attended—and Facebook-friending a rainbow nation did not make him desire a multiracial utopia. Just the opposite, in fact.

The Challenges Facing the New CMPD Chief

CHARLOTTE, NC — Charlotte has picked a new police chief to replace Chief Rodney Monroe, but it looks like a rough summer is ahead for him. WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis is in the studio to talk about the challenges that face Kerr Putney and Charlotte.

On the Civil Liberties Ordinance in Charlotte

CHARLOTTE, NC — We have been talking for months about the Civil Liberties Ordinance in Charlotte that is aimed at preventing tensions between police and citizens. Now that it has passed, our Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis is in the studio to discuss the ordinance, it’s significance, and what comes next.