Comedian and activist Dick Gregory left us on Aug.19 at the age of 84. However, his final words have been documented and presented for posterity in the just released, “Defining Moments in Black History: Reading Between the Lies” (available through Amistad in hardcover, Kindle and audio CD formats).
In the collection of thoughtful, inspiring essays, Gregory charts the complex and often obscured history of the African-American experience. He starts from the beginning, exploring African ancestry and the Middle Passage, and takes us through both serious and funny aspects of African-American life today.
He also offers explorations of cultural milestones such as the Harlem Renaissance, Sidney Poitier’s and Hattie McDaniel’s Oscar wins, and Billie Holiday releasing “Strange Fruit;” as well as incisive takes on Barack Obama, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump.
For decades, Richard “Dick” Claxton Gregory set out to make audiences not only laugh, but think hard about race relations in America. He is on Comedy Central’s list of “100 Greatest Stand-Ups” and was the author of 14 books, most notably the bestselling classic “Nigger: An Autobiography.”
Gregory dedicated much of his life to social activism, organizing student rallies in the 1960s, going on hunger strikes to support Black Lives Matter, marching at Selma and much more. He is survived by his beloved wife, Lil, 10 children and a host of grandchildren and relatives.
This final act is the culmination of a truly important legacy from one of our most indispensable contemporary voices — an essential, no-holds-bar history lesson sure to provoke as much as it will entertain.
TASTY QUIP: “Why is our president so concerned about what football players is doing when the goddamn world is going in shambles? You got this man from North Korea that’s talking about he’s declaring war — which, I don’t know, declaring war on who? Don’t declare war on us. We don’t want that beef.” – Chart topping “Bodak Yellow” rapper CARDI B to Billboard.
CLIPPETTES: The Bob James Trio and Jeff Lorber Fusion co-headline the jazz bill at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach on Sept. 29. Also keyboardist/author Kevin Toney is at the World Stage Performance Gallery (which will feature singer Dee Dee McNeil the following evening …
The 10th annual Angel City Jazz Festival will celebrate the centennial of innovative jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk on Oct. 1 at the Ford Theatre. Dee Dee Bridgewater, Conrad Herwig, Manuel Valera, Richie Flores, DJ Logic and Mark de Clive-Lowe are among the participants …
Later that evening, Black Star with Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) and Talib Kewli perform at The Novo DTLA …
Chance the Rapper begins a two-night stand at the Hollywood Bowl on Oct. 3 …
We Are One, a benefit all-star concert and fundraiser for the Playing For Change Foundation, is being held on Oct. 3 at the Mayan Theatre with The Doobie Brothers, soul singer Ellis Hall, world-renowned drummer James Gadson, legendary harmonica player Lee Oskar, Mississippi living blues legend Vasti Jackson, Nahko and more …
On Oct. 5, Lauryn Hill and Nas bring their co-headlining tour with opening act Chronixx to the Hollywood Bowl; while Gorillaz take a rare concert date at The Forum.
TASTY QUIP: “When Pac died — I mean, if he really did, you know. I mean, when I left that hospital, me and Pac was laughing and joking. So I don’t see how somebody can turn from doing well to doing bad. I’m gonna tell you that with Pac, you never know.” – SUGE KNIGHT to Ice T and Soledad O’Brien on Fox’s “Who Shot Biggie & Tupac?”
TC ON TV: Sept. 29 – “Hell’s Kitchen” (Fox): For the first time in 17 seasons, Chef Gordon Ramsey invites back 16 runner-ups for a second chance to prove they deserve a head chef position in Las Vegas and $250,000. “Marvel’s Inhumans” (ABC): The two-hour series premiere, which launched with little fanfare in IMAX theatres this summer, airs with additional footage. “US Weekly’s Famous Feuds” (Reelz): Drake vs. Chris Brown. “Z Nation” (SYFY): Kelita Smith’s zombie show enters its fourth and final season. “Anjelah Johnson: Mahalo & Goodnight” (Epix): The former “MADtv” regular presents her stand-up comedy special. “Tavis Smiley” (PBS): Chuck D, Tom Morello
Sept. 30 – “Iyanla: Fix My Life” (OWN): Hot Boys’ Young Turk has “Rappers Remorse.” “Felipe Esparza: Translate This” (HBO): The comedian/actor jokes about immigration and his ongoing difficulty translating for his parents. “Released” (OWN): This eight-episode docu-series features intimate, first-person narratives of formerly incarcerated men and women as they walk out of the prison doors for the first time to restart their lives. “SNL” (NBC): Ryan Gosling and Jay-Z open the season.
Oct. 1 – “Best Thing I Ever Ate” (Cooking): In L.A. “Ghosted” (Fox): A new paranormal comedy series with Craig Robinson, Adam Scott and Amber Stevens West (“The Carmichael Show”). “Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO): Larry David (and JB Smoove’s Leon) are back for more laughs after five years!
Oct. 2 – “TRL” (MTV): The classic live from Times Square weekday show is revived with first guests Ed Sheeran and Migos. “The Gifted” (Fox): A family with mutant kids goes on the run in this spin-off from Marvel’s X-Men franchise. “Ed Gordon” (Bounce): The veteran newsman interviews Steve Harvey, Rep. Maxine Waters, Yara Shahidi and Gregory Porter.
Oct. 3 – “Finding Your Roots” (PBS): More family fact finding with Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. “black-ish” (ABC): Aloe Blacc and Fonzworth Bentley guest star in this season opener celebrating Juneteenth. “The Mayor” (ABC): A young rapper gets elected. “Queen Sugar” (OWN): The hit series returns with an additional episode tomorrow.
Oct. 4 – “The iHeartRadio Music Festival” (CW): Tonight features Pink, The Weeknd and others while tomorrow’s broadcast will showcase Lorde, Big Sean, DJ Khalid and more. “Empire” (Fox): The 50th episode introduces Forest Whitaker to the cast in a recurring role. “Star” (Fox): Paris Jackson, Evan Ross and Elijah Kelly guest-star.
Oct. 5 – “Scandal” (ABC): Can Olivia Pope run the world?
TASTY QUIP: “This idea that black people should be grateful is some sneaky ass racism. Because when a white billionaire spends a year screaming that America is a disaster, he’s in touch with the country. But when a black man kneels quietly, he should be grateful for the successes America has allowed him to have?” – TREVOR NOAH on “The Daily Show”
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @tastyclips.