Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Raisin in the Sun

Okay, I’ll admit it. I did not watch the network television premiere of A Raisin in the Sun, Starring Rap Mogul Sean “Puffy” “P-Diddy” Combs, but in my defense I work nights and had my ass in bed. Besides, who wants to see a three hour movie about black folks picking grapes, placing them in the sun and waiting for them to turn into raisins? That shit ain’t realistic! I know we Picked cotton (and possibly peanuts), back in the day, but I never heard of us harvesting no grapes to make raisins.

No, no….I is just kidding. I don’t want yall thinking I’m all ig’nat and stuff. Actually I felt so bad about missing A Raisin in the Sun that I decided to do some research on it. The play was written by Lorraine Hansberry (which I knew), but what I did not know was that in made its debut, on Broadway no less, in 1959. Ms. Hansberry was the first black woman play write to have a play produced on Broadway. Not only that, but the play’s director, Lloyd Richards, was the first black director on Broadway... I know it seems like Oprah was the first but plenty of black folks did things before her ass.

In the same year in which it debuted, A Raisin in the Sun, was named the best play of 1959 by New York Drama Critics’ Circle. How about that for a play that consisted of an all black cast, with the exception of one white? The following year it was nominated for four Tony Awards including; Best Play, Best Actor in Play, Best Actress in Play and Best Direction of a Play. In 1961 A Raisin in the Sun was turned into a major motion picture featuring its original Broadway cast. So, of course it stands to reason that when Sean Combs brought it to television, he would follow suit and use the same cast he worked with in the 2004 Broadway revival. (Who knew that Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald received Tony Awards for their performances back then? Not I. Nor did I know that this play was adapted for television once before, in 1989, starring Danny Glover and Esther Rolle (Damn! Damn! Damn!)
As a side bar, I think it was the first time that white folks got an inside look at how black folks lived. You know that shit is always interesting. Funny, how we went from proud, black people with a dream for something better, to angry ghetto thugs; still with a dream for something better but now we kill one another (In the movies I mean...In the movies), and white folks still think they are getting a legitimate look at the inside of black culture.

I remember having to read A Raisin in the Sun growing up. The thing that always stood out to me, when I read the book, was a poem by Langston Hughes, which preceded the play. C’mon, we all know it.
A Dream Deferred
by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
I liked the fact that Mr. Hughes left this question opened for the reader to decide for himself the answer. I still have not decided the answer, and believe it or not, I have actually pondered over it for a many a years. You see, I have a dream deferred, but not from lack of trying. A dream that has been deferred since I was eighteen years old. I will say this; it does hurt to continue to go after something that you want and to never have it reach fruition. I won’t tell you what this dream in question is, but I will tell you that I often thought that if I died without accomplishing it I would feel like I died a failure (no matter what my other accomplishments). I guess that would fit the category of sagging like a heavy load, huh.
Anyway, anyone else suffer from a dream deferred? Wanna share?
-One Man’s Opinion. Peace.
I’m gonna write me a play. I think I’ll call it A Crack Rock in the Moonlight.

11 comments:

UBERMOUTH said...

I always wanted to be a wealthy , famous, Oscar winning character actress..but the closest I came was a blog. :)
Why won't you tell us your deferred dream?
That is amazing that in America in 1959 a play such as A Raisin in the Sun was on broadway when you think of the times back then.

Eb the Celeb said...

yeah...y ou scared me for a hot sec with that 1st paragraph... but anyway... I watched last night... well sort of watched... fell asleep on it around 10pm and woke up around 11:15 tomy phone ringing... so that just about sums up what I thought of the whole thing... if it put me to sleep that is.

Don said...

Yeah, I suffer from a dream deferred. I always had this dream of having one big happy family all living under the same roof. Picket fence. Dog. Two cars and enforcing that foundation.

But she wasn't use to having anything, so she destroyed ALL of that good ish.

So, at the moment, yeah, the dream has become deferred. But I shall return like Jesus.

Expect me. But this time, with a woman who has "bird sense."

I missed the show last night. Really wante to see it. Got home late. Forgot that it came on.

Mark D. Aster said...

I give Latifah props, but not all hip hop artists are cut out for the stage.

Coming up next: Luther Campbell in "What Happens to a Wet Dream Deferred?"

Sha Boogie said...

Ok,I watched it and I'll let you know you ain't miss much. I know..I know..a 'black movie' on network television...but, boring is boring. And that Puff Diddly was boring me to tears!!

Shazza Nakim said...

I am bias, I didn't like it and it wasn't because SEAN COMBS can't act (can't Rap either but that too is my opinion) it just was bad production and RUSHED which I heard actually was.

I did A Raisin In The Sun as one of my first acting experiences back in High School and I occassionally use parts of the play in monologues, I've watched it on stage many times so I tried to watch this TV version with an open mind. 30 mins later, patience shut down and so did the TV.

To be honest, I would have liked One Man's version better. I just might steal the IDEA and run with it.

One Man’s Opinion said...

I just don't feel confortable sharing the dream, ubermouth. I don't really know why. It's not dirty or anything.

I agree, eb...If you went to sleep on it then there's a good chance it might not have been good. Or else you were just sleepy at the time.

Yeah, I thought as much Sha boogie. If I thought it was going to be worth anything I would have set my DVR to record it. You know what Broadway show they should bring to the Silver Screen? The Color Purple! Seriously. I'm thinking maybe they could get Whoopie Goldberg and manybe even Oprah to star in it. What do you think?

We can work together on it Shazza. I think we can make it work. I wonder how the show did in ratings.....You know black folks at least tried to watch it, but they probably got sucked in my The Flava of Love. LOL
Don, you crazy. A woman with "bird sense". You wrong for that. I think my dream is deferred because I don't pay my tithes. Seriously.

A Wet Drean Deferred....Yeah, I think those bad boys do swell up and explode, d aster. LOL

Mark D. Aster said...

I think the key word in the poem is "deferred," meaning to postpone (and by implication, put off from the original or intended date of action or fulfillment).

The difference between us today, and Langston Hughes' generation is that their dreams were deferred by external forces. Now we not only defer our own dreams, some of us dream not at all.

I deferred my dream of graduating from college for 16 years, after dropping out as a junior, but I still fulfilled my dream eventually.

If I had done nothing, then it would have exploded (expanded and then popped into nothingness). What happens to the deferred dream lies with the dreamer ...

Dayum, brutha, all dis philosophicalizing is making mah head hurt!

On a completely unrelated note, I

Curious said...

I haven't seen the TV show yet. But I know that if it's over 2 hours, the production runs the risk of being boring, no matter how good the acting.

Dream deffered? Too many to list here. Plus they change or even drop off as I get older.

Rodney said...

My deferred dream is graduate school. I need some damn coins.

Lorraine Hansberry was truly incredible and accomplished so much in an all-too-short life.

Yes! There was Broadway before Oprah. Thanks for putting some history out there for the folks who don't know.

I missed "the mama on the couch play" on TV, but after having seen Diddy do it on B'way, I was not going to sit through another of his putrid performances. Why won't people recognize their strengths and operate within those confines???

Eb the Celeb said...

hey i'm a rockstar... rockstars dont get sleepy... we get put to sleep.. and that movie put me to sleep...LOL