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Huffington Post Black Voices

Ruby Dee And Ossie Davis Highlighted In ‘Life’s Essentials With Ruby Dee

Black Voices | 06/21/2012


After years of viewing their public talents through their various award-winning projects, the backstage life and times of Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee will finally be recognized in the forthcoming documentary, “Life’s Essentials With Ruby Dee.”

Directed by Dee’s grandson Muta’Ali Muhammad and his partner Jevon “NJ” Frank, the documentary marks the first official project chronicling the couple’s long careers and 57 years of marriage.

“We have received several proposals over the years [to do a film], but it never seemed to be the right time or circumstance,” Dee explained to The Huffington Post.

“Ossie and I were gratified to discover that some of our most satisfying collaborations were with our adult children, so when my eldest grandson, Muta’Ali Muhammad, approached me about this documentary I was intrigued,” she continued. “So I checked his credentials — and they were as impressive as his pedigree!”

Dee said it was a “joy” to work with her grandson, adding, “I am very pleased to be able to have a hand in the telling of our story.”

Muhammad and Frank are looking to a grassroots campaign through the online platform Kickstarter to fund the film. Currently in the middle of the 40-day fundraising project, which concludes on June 30, they aim to complete the film for an early 2013 release. They also intend to offer a private screening of part of the film on Dee’s upcoming 90th birthday.

“The first screening will be a portion of the documentary on Oct. 27, kind of as a gift to Gram Ruby” said Muhammad. “So we’ll have her screening, a VIP reception and she’ll get to see a good portion of it then. It’ll take a little bit longer for us to complete the entire project. I think our goal right now is Black History Month 2013.”

The filmmakers plan to tell the celebrated couple’s story through “love, art, and activism.”

“Through the synopsis, the story of Ozzie and Ruby’s lives is told, but the drive that pushes this story forward is the hunger for me to learn from my elders and the hunger for Gram Ruby to spread, preserve, and to teach her descendents the wisdom that she has,” Muhammad explained. “And it’s all within the areas of love, art, and activism because those are the three areas that stand out when you speak about my grandparents.”

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