Rants: I Suffer For Harry J. Lennix’s Art (And Other Under-used Actors)

One of my favorite actors of film, TV and stage, Harry J. Lennix.If you don’t like most reality television (and I don’t), and enjoy a good piece of fiction (especially if it has one of your favorite actors in it), the times are both good and bad.

Good, in the sense that now even basic cable networks are producing quality shows.

Bad, in the sense that a Negro is still hard to come by in a high quality series.

But if I love you, I’m willing to suffer.

Por ejemplo: I hate Taye Diggs. I’ve got no problem with Audra MacDonald. She’s a lovely woman, but I’m not watching their show, Private Practice. Not even now that the lovely Sharon Leal is there. I’m not a big MacDonald fan. I didn’t even know who she was before Private Practice. I’m sure she’s great, but because she’s tied to Diggs (and some of the most flat characters on television) I can’t watch her show.

But I have, for several weeks straight, now sat through Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse on FOX because I love Harry J. Lennix.

It helps that the show is sci-fi and has an interesting (albeit borderline offensive, repulsive and sexist) premise. He is a brilliant actor. In a fair world he’d be a multi-Tony/Oscar award winning power house starring in nothing but thrillers and period dramas because he’s that kinda dude. But no. The Lennix is lucky if Spike Lee makes a movie that year because that means he might get a small part. Or if Don Cheadle cracks a collarbone. Or if someone confuses him, yet again, with the dude who played the badass on Veronica Mars. (That was the somewhat younger, but similar Christopher B. Duncan.)

But I’ll suffer through Eliza Dushku’s one-note acting and the whole “memory rape”/’human trafficking for kicks” premise because Harry killed in Julie Taymor’s adaptation of Titus and because of that film he has me for life. I cling to the screen hoping that someday he will get another role like Aaron the treacherous Moor – the Shaft of Shakespeare, the polar opposite of Othello — and will chew up all the scenery, reducing all his co-stars to rubble.

I also suffer through “Prison Break” for Wentworth Miller (a show about to finally be put out of its misery); through Grey’s Anatomy for Chandra Wilson’s awesome Miranda Bailey (even though they keep messing up her character) and Sandra Oh’s Cristina Yang (who I love). I still watch “Lost” even though they killed everyone who could tan with the exception of Naveen Andrews’ character and thank God Naveen is hot, otherwise I might have given up after they offed Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s Mr. Ecko.

Stupid smoke monster.

It also helps that “Lost” is still a pretty interesting show, dead Michelle Rodriguez, Harold Perrineau and all.

I want to watch quality television, but I also want to see my favorites, like Vanessa Williams’ scene-stealing action on “Ugly Betty,” Omar Epps on “House” or S. Epatha Merkerson on “Law & Order.” I also loved the magnificently cool and multi-talented Jesse L. Martin when he was on L&O and can’t, won’t warm up to his replacement, comic-turned-semi-serious actor, Anthony Anderson.

Sometimes seeing the hottest Moor in the history of Shakespear means you have to suffer through him following Eliza Dusku around like a modern-day Bojangles with a criminal justice degree, just like I suffered watching the gorgeous Gina Torres follow Nathan Fillon around on Firefly when Gina, clearly, could carry her own show and about two movies on her back if ever given the shot.

And I lie awake wondering, why won’t they put Jill Marie Jones on Grey’s or Desperate Housewives? What’s the point in being that funny and THAT good looking and you’re not on television? Is Tracee Ellis Ross or any of the rest of the cast of “Girlfriends” ever going to pop up anywhere? Why did “Isaiah-gate” have happen (sigh, the arrogance, I know), essentially ruining the TV career of one of my favorite sporatically imployed black actors? What happened to Gloria Reuben and Eriq LaSalle’s careers post-ER? How did Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishbourne even end up on TV (ER and CSI, respectfully) after such brilliant, yet sporadically employed, film careers? They’re both Oscar-nominated actors. (He was Morpheus and Ike Turner!) Why are Victoria Rowell and Debbi Morgan both stuck on the soap opera plantation? And why did BET have to become MTV instead of CBS, because, seriously, that’s what I needed. A real, full-fledged network. Not more things that jiggle when they wiggle.

Damn you, Robert Johnson. You knew people would pay to watch garbage. People love garbage. It’s cheap and it appeals to such a broad, ignorant crowd. You tried to put a few vegetables in there, but at the end of the day ass sells so we got ass. But I have to believe that if something is well-written and entertaining all people, not just black people, would watch it.

But everyone wants to nickel and dime it so we get our latest Tyler Perry production by a guy who doesn’t know anything about film and runs all his movies and TV shows like glorified stage plays, but there’s no push to grow, adapt or change because the formula works. Ring, ring goes the cash register.

It’s a cruel, cruel world for the under-used minority actor.

Poor Allen Payne. I can’t, won’t watch House of Payne, and I own every film he’s ever been in (almost) that was worth buying.

(Which is essentially New Jack City, CB4, Jason’s Lyric, A Price Above Rubies, The Walking Dead, Tuskegee Airmen, 30 Years to Life and — don’t laugh — the 1995 comedy/horror Vampire in Brooklyn. I swear, it’s like he and Angela Bassett think they’re in an ENTIRELY different film from Eddie Murphy and Kadeem Hardison.)

And so, Friday night I will be watching Dollhouse because Harry J. Lennix is on it and I love him. I know they’ll never let him be as badass as he was in Titus ever again, but, if it gets that bad, I own the DVD. I can just watch it over and over and dream.

Who will you suffer through bad plot points and dialog for?

Side note: The acting of Angela and her hubby, Courtney B. Vance actually got me to watch an episode of ER for the first time in years a few weeks back. It was about the death of their characters’ son and I spent the whole episode both crying and going, “Damn! Angela’s skin looks AMAZING!” Really. It’s a pity that woman has had such a hard time getting quality work.

39 thoughts on “Rants: I Suffer For Harry J. Lennix’s Art (And Other Under-used Actors)

  1. Love the post and agree with everything except I don’t like Sandra O. Can not watch House of Payne aka Minstrel Show. I know that Allen Payne appears to be in pain saying his lines on that horrible show the times that I have clicked and come across that mess. Thanks for the heads up on Dollhouse I think Harry Lennix is a joy to watch as well and can’t wait to check it out.We will miss you during your hiatus but you go ahead and handle your business and don’t forget to renew and restore. Your site is the best!!!

  2. I feel you on a lot of what you said here. I do notice that you neglected to mention one of my favorite and I think the hands-down best family drama on TV, ABCFamily’s Lincoln Heights. It’s on basic cable so it has one of those annoying 10-13 episode seasons that comes around as often as Haley’s Comet, but the writing is fantastic and patriarch of the family, played by Russell Hornsby is one of the best, most empowering examples of a black father in prime time. I think it comes back on the air this summer and it’s a must see. They have previous epis online and the show also features cool musical guests, e.g. Elliot Yamin and Solange Knowles. Here’s the link: http://abcfamily.go.com/abcfamily/path/section_Shows+Lincoln-Heights/page_Detail

  3. Lost is such a disappointment to me, first of all because it’s become unbelievably bad, and secondly because of systematically killing off all the characters with, as you say, the ability to tan. It’s particularly annoying because the show started off killing only white characters (it was like three blondes in a row and Boone), which was pretty refreshing, and also because the white people on that show are booooooring. Which isn’t exactly new or different, but still. Criminal Minds I watch for Shemar Moore, and his interplay with Kirsten Vangsness (although—I mean, I like the actress and love the character, there’s no good reason why a cool IT geek chick named Penelope Garcia is played by … a natural blonde. Really now. OTOH, she’s one of the only "fat" (by Hollywood standards) actresses on TV, so I guess I’ll take what I can get). The rest of the show is so pasty it hurts, but I like the pro-gay feminist by-the-way-mostly-white-dudes-go-serial-killer-on-you vibe.

  4. Has anyone else noticed how much Harry J. Lennix looks like President Obama??? I have said since we first heard of Barack Obama at the Democratic convention in 2004 that they look alike. If they ever make a movie, Harry J. Lennix (and not Will Smith) should portray our fine president.P.S. I love Private Practice, even though since it comes on after Grey’s Anatomy at 10pm, I haven’t been able to stay awake to watch it and I keep missing it. 🙂

  5. I agree with dkan71: Lincoln Heights is underrated, considering the great messages it sends. The plotlines could stand some freshening, but it’s worth the hour.I’m mad as hell, though that Gaius Charles is "off to college" on Friday Night Lights. I still think it’s a fantastic show, but the flavor he added to the plot was undeniably delicious, especially when he was with the bi-polar girlfriend. Not much else cracking for black folk on the boob tube though… not at all.

  6. @ dkan71What is this "ABC Family" of which you speak? I’ll have to check it out.@ SymphoniYes. There IS a strong resemblance between the two and Harry is a far better actor than the one who has the cache and money to actually get an Obama film made (and of course, that would be Will Smith).

  7. Audra McDonald is an amazing opera singer who graduated Juilliard. She is also a Tony Award winning actress. Tyler Perry does employ black actors and actresses, love him or hate him.I have loved Harry J Lennix since The Five Heartbeats. That voice!!!

  8. Who will you suffer through bad plot points and dialog for? the entire black cast of "The Wire"I pretty much follow them from show to show or even movies. I get all happy when I notice them in older movies, they usually show up in pairs.This is why I saw "Secret Life of Bees" opening weekend, why I’ve seen most of the episodes of "Fridge", why I’ve forced myself to set through several episodes of the new "90210" and why I watched season one of "Oz" and the movie "28 weeks later" on dvd even though it scared the crap out of me. I don’t even know all of these actors buy their real names and I’m still happy to see them.

  9. I also watch Criminal Minds for the chemistry between Morgan and Garcia. NERD POWER!I’ve enjoyed HJL since he was Dresser in The Five Heartbeats.

  10. I hate chick flicks with a passion, but the inclusion of Hill Harper got me to watch Love, Sex and Eating the Bones which is actually a pretty good movie.

  11. @LaDonna…Love. The. Wire. I was wayy late to the game, but damn! What a show. I love seeing those actors in other stuff. I I’ve seen Deirdre Lovejoy aka Pearlman show up as a guest on Lie to Me and Bones recently and also watched Daddy’s Little Girls and The Gospel for some Stringer Bell. Marlo is on Heroes and Bubbles was in a so-so Josh Hartnett/Naomie Harris straight to DVD movie called August last year. Hopefully David Simon’s show Treme, set in New Orleans and currently in development, will get made so that Tyler Perry won’t be the only fool employing black actors.

  12. am glad you can name so many programmes featuring black actors.. over here in the uk.. phones still ring around the black community when someone black is on! yes!!!!!it made national news that a whole episode of ‘eastenders’ (the most depressing soap ever in my mind) would not feature one white person in it… every black person i know, whether they watch that programme or not, tuned in…and can we have idris elba back now please….

  13. I am right there with you, watching Dollhouse exclusively for Harry Lennix. The show’s crap but he’s great in it. (I even "sing" the theme song when it comes on, b/c I’m so amped that he’s about to get some screen time, *somewhere*, for however long this show can hold out against it’s bad ratings and worse writing. I’m just sayin’.)I love him. I love the sound of his voice. He had me at The Mary Thomas Story, where he played Nero, the neighborhood menace. :-)p.s. Did you seen the one with the Black "starlet?" She was horrible, but I understand she’s a Broadway actress and was in Rent or something? It’s sad what happens to our actors.

  14. I thought it was me. I have been struggling through Dollhouse. It’s awful. Awful. I started watching it because of Harry to be exact. I was searching for him last year and found out he would be on that show. So watching it has been excruciating with me just basically leaving the channel on to look but not pay attention really. I love Terminator. Sarah Connor is my hero.But I watched Harry in the first and only season of Commander-in-Chief. Love Geena Davis. Harry was great as her Chief-of-Staff…and then she wanted him to run as her Vice President. The show was ahead-of-the-curve and casting him was a testament of vision for that executive production staff to allow a man with that voice and that force play anything close to the star of the show. I wasn’t use to seeing that type of Black male character on tv. And then there was Dr. Burke. Loved Isaiah on Grey’s. Stopped watching it when he was fired. And Courtney Vance doesn’t exude formidable essence to me when he acted or acts. I thought of him because I just don’t get him on camera or off.There has been talk of him being a fave to play Obama eventhough most people don’t even know who he is. Also they have been talking about Daniel Sunjata too, who didn’t support Obama to be casted as him as well. I think Amerie and Michelle look like sisters.You should listen to this link: http://daytimeconfidential.com/victoria-rowell-interviewIt's almost an hour, I think. It’s intense. It’s archival living history about what Black women go through that you never hear about in the battles of race in the workplace. She is talking about Hollywood but it sounds so similar to every other segment of the American workforce when unintimidating, certain (without confusion and ambiguity), determined Black women ASSERT themselves without the manicure to their wholeness in space. I was surprised to hear the interview from a Black actress because they usually only offer blanket accusations of racism without offering a broad, open and transparent picture of what they go through. They make their accusations hollow because they try to play it safe to not rock the boat of disclosing the bad behaviors in racist Hollywood. The actresses (and actors) loose when they try to play virtuous victim in whining instead of being courageous and outing those who wield the power to disenfranchise them. I remember reading so many actresses lament about racism in Hollywood to just role my eyes because they wanted to whine about it but not fight it. And then I heard this interview and realized Victoria Rowell gets it. She gets that you can’t safeguard your oppressors. You have to expose it.This woman is far more intelligent and I was amazed at her language of understanding public policy. I love that she is self-made and not some college drone. She is so organic in having been an apprentice of her craft and an apprentice in living that a lot of young people and my peers don’t appreciate or get. She learned from elders and not just relied on "I’m going to get my masters" or "I’m going to get my Ph.D." but know nothing. That is what I see in our people. They have all this hoady-toady titles without any essence, substance, ingenuity, or moxie.She talks about what it is like to be punished. I understand and I exhaled when I heard her say it because no one living Black women like to identify and will not identify to the structural systems of the cost, the possible losts, and possible gains. I felt like she was in a sisterhood with me that I don’t feel with other Black women. Our sex doesn’t like that much risk but we want to extol our virtuous victimhood. She didn’t and doesn’t do that. She takes risks she can definitely lose at and be punished and was. I love how she tackles the obvious social engineering of White production staffs to pick actors to play Black characters with less identified Blackness…pushing them to be "not so Black" in theory of their character’s backstory and realistic make-up as real citizens of America although in the fake worlds in soap opera land. People won’t talk about the purposeful engineering to push an ideal of us that is acceptable for them to watch. She realized they were making her character’s daughter stripped and sanitized of any cultural tendencies of exuding prideful Blackness in exhibition of character. They hired (rehired) the actress that is a mulatto that is void of Blackness. Victoria is a mulatto that is full of Blackness. This woman is so old-school that it is a shame that this woman is so understated in the arts and as a social architect. What she knows and how she fights needs to be taught to young Black women that want to always play it safe and then self-promote how great they are (Harlem Heights and this entire mesh of generations, X, which is mine and the Ys. We are full of marketing with no substance that has weight to paradigm shift like this woman has. She reminds me of the Greats.It’s ironic this is Women’s History month and you wrote this post making me think about her. Thanks.

  15. I love, love, love Harry J. Lennix too! I had the pleasure of seeing him on Broadway in Radio Golf. The co-stars were equally brilliant: Tonya Pinkins and Wendell Pierce. Anika Noni Rose is another wonderful actress who I saw in Caroline or Change (with Tonya Pinkins) on Broadway a few years ago. We might see less black actors on television and the movies in the coming months, because many have come from Broadway. The downturn in the economy has led to fewer productions. It’s really sad because there is truly such a great deal of talent out there!

  16. I want to give Audra dap for her 3 Tonies.She has an amazing voice and TV doesn’t show off what she can do.

  17. I loved Harry in Titus too!@ LaDonna, two of "The Wire’s" cast members went on to NBC’s "Heroes" which is another show that LOVES to kill off persons of color. And those they keep, they stupify (i.e. Mohinder…yeah, son I’m talking about you; and Hiro/Ando, yeah, you, too). I mean, they had Andre Royo! "Bubbles"!!! And they ‘used’ his character for like two episodes and ‘used’ his house (after he was ‘expired’)!!!!!!!!! UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!Basically, I’m commiserating with you. Great post. 🙂

  18. Love Harry Lennix! Dresser was/is my favorite heartbeat, I actually still call him Dresser. Has anybody heard of this new show coming on Showtime with Jill Scott? It’s an interesting premise and I wonder if it’s going to have staying power. It’s set in Botswana and Jill plays a woman (from Botswana, so she’s speaking with an accent) who starts a detective agency. I’ll watch because it’s Jill and I support.

  19. "But everyone wants to nickel and dime it so we get our latest Tyler Perry production by a guy who doesn’t know anything about film and runs all his movies and TV shows like glorified stage plays…" We are i 2 i Snob, employing black actors or not that is the exact reason TP does not receive my viewership. IMO bad production and lack of film-making skills should not be rewarded just because there are colored folk on the screen. It just reinforces his quest for mediocrity–because he knows it will be consumed no matter how bad the quality. Can’t say I watch any particular show for any particular actor, though I do love Jeffrey Wright and love to see him on screen. And Lance Reddick is great on Fringe but that show is great period. Snob, I think you’re a fan of Sci-Fi, if you ever loved (the beginning years) of the X-Files then you’ll love Fringe. Tuesdays @ 9 on Fox, currently on hiatus because of A.I. but will return on April 7.

  20. I didn’t mind when Michael was done away w/ on Lost but why did they have to kill off Mr. Ecko?! He was my favorite character (and not because he was Black, it was because he was cool). Now I only watch it to see if Sayid kills Ben, since we all know it’s coming, and once that happens I probably won’t watch as faithfully anymore.I agree w/ you 100%, Danielle; especially, about BET selling out to woo the lowest common denominator viewers.

  21. I love Harry Lennix. One of the reasons I wanted Commander-In-Chief to go a second season was because I wanted his character to be the VP nominee. He just exudes intelligence. ANd intensity. But, yes, someone should get him on a good series.

  22. Am I the only one who’s not a fan of Angela Bassett? Even Donald Bogle in his book about black films said that there’s a "brittle" quality to her and I agree. There’s something cold and off putting about her. She pushes you away and doesn’t draw you in like Kerry Washington. I get the feeling that if I met Wahsington (and I have…not bragging) on the street she would talk to me while Bassett would tell me to F$^@ OFF!

  23. Erika, Jill Scott’s show is coming on HBO next month. It’s ‘The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, it’s based on a series of novels by Alexander Mccall Smith. I’m looking forward to it too! And yes, Danielle, I watch Dollhouse for Harry too. I tried to watch ‘Love Monkey’ because of Larenz Tate but gave up after they really didn’t do anything with his character. And TBI-Lost killed off Mr. Ecko becauseli.Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbajeke didn’t care for Hawaii too much. AlexG, I like Angela but she always looks like she’s sucking on a cough drop.

  24. I like Dollhouse so far because I’m a Josh Whedon. I see it developing into something good. I like Eliza Dushku and Harry Lennix. I’m a sci-fi junkie and I was mad when they killed of Kandyse McClure on Battlestar Galactica for no apparent reason. That was only because it didn’t make sense. They were really developing her character. I don’t watch a lot of stuff just because a black person is in it. If the show is good, doesn’t matter who is in it, I watch it. I do wish there was more diversity in television though. I hate WB, because they never have any shows. I only like Smallville and Supernatural, but that’s because I like sci-fi mystery shows.

  25. What, no Audra M. love? She is a superb singer with tremendous stage…and I do mean "stage" presence. I was shocked to see her magnificence on a piddling little ABC ensemble show (which, after watching some this past year, I’ve grown to really like. The interpersonal dramas mixed in with the medical- ethical-quandry-of-the-week are surprisingly engaging.)I love Eastenders, marci, but only because it is light years better acted, better written, and better directed and edited than what passes for soaps in the U.S. I do agree their track record on minority character rep is mixed (remember the good Black man/bad black man Madonna-whore dichotomy of Anthony and Paul? Oh, and the fact that every one of ‘good Black man’s’ girlfriends was White?) The Asian and Arab characters are either completely divorced from their cultural milieu or steeped in a caricature of what the White writers think their culture is. But, hey, they’ve GOT diverse characters! It’s a far sight more diverse than U.S. soaps, so I’m surprised you’d think U.S. shows are better in racial respects. I think it’s the exact opposite–EE’s diversity kills every American soap I’ve ever watched.

  26. I love Harry so much? I HATE "Stomp the Yard" because they turned my sexy, soft, sizzling man into an angry, bitter beast! Not cool, as he is LOVE.

  27. Just a note: Audra McDonald has won FOUR Tonys, not three. She is one of only four actors to ever do so, and these others are Angela Lansbury, Gwen Verdon, and Zero Mostel, so you can see she is also the youngest person to win such distinction, and of course the only person of color. The best part is that her Tonys were for both dramatic and musical roles, and she is as gifted a dramatic actress as she is a musical theatre performer. Her voice is just gorgeous, and has brought me to tears more than once, and she’s blazed many trails on Broadway in non-traditional casting, like in her breakthrough role as the first black actress to play Julie Jordan in Carousel. Private Practice doesn’t begin to show what she can do. Give her her props, Snob, she’s the real deal.

  28. @ Shazza: I had read somewhere that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje wanted to be written off Lost for totally different reasons. It had something to do w/ wanting to return to London to direct some movie and be closer to family after his parents died, I mean, how can you hate Hawaii? I lived there for a number of years and loved it (I still think about moving back). The reverse-racism that goes on there is interesting yet awkward. LOL

  29. @ All Audra FansAs I stated, I didn’t know jack about the woman, but "Private Practice." Perhaps if I’d seen her previous stage work maybe I’d be willing to suffer through however many seconds of screen time Taye Diggs has on the show as her ex. But my dislike of all things Taye Diggs knows no bounds and I am borderline irrational in my dislike of him as an actor. There is something about him that just BOTHERS ME. It could be that he’s too chirpy and I tend to like my male actors (especially the black ones) to be serious and borderline arrogant as hell in their swagger … even the nice ones (like Allen Payne, who seems super nice, but is also capable of being a pretty serious dude). Diggs lacks a certain confidence, assertiveness and depth I desire. Even Shemar Moore, not the best of actors, has it better in that department than Diggs. Also, I never really believe him in any role unless he’s playing a jerk. And that’s probably the problem. My first exposure to Taye was "The Best Man" and "The Wood," and in both cases his characters had a certain level of "assholiness" about them that I never got over. Plus, he was the only man who posed naked in Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue a few years back (nearly all the actresses were naked, but that’s a whole other complaint). I didn’t understand how the lone black guy ended up naked on a bear skin rug and OF COURSE, it was Taye. I mean, have some damn self-respect. Denzel, Sam, Morgan, et al would be giving Annie L. the finger with their mind if she ever suggested such of them.I get that he’s supposed to be a sex symbol of some kind, but he’s not exactly Tyson Beckford who makes his livins being half-nekkid and such and doesn’t annoy me at all. But I will check out Audra’s music. I enjoy opera from time-to-time.

  30. I’m going to shout-out Mathew St. Patrick, Keith of Six Feet Under. Where the brotha at? Everyone else on the show has been on a high-profile TV series or movie (Peter Krause of the canceled Dirty Sexy Money, Michael C. Hall as Dexter) but the most handsome man on SFU has been missing from high profile roles for a minute now. Hollywood, don’t sleep on the sexy, hire this man!

  31. How were you able to list the watchable portion of Allen Payne’s filmography and fail to mention the great Blue Hill Avenue.

  32. first of all, you rock and i {heart} blacksnob! secondly, i’m SO SO happy to read that you, too, appreciate allen payne and can’t stand to see the travesty that is the "House of Payne." pitiful waste of talent (and phoineness).

  33. Nice commentary. I agree with you about Gloria Reuben, Eric La’Salle and Victoria Rowell. I wish they got more roles. And I wish Anthony Montgomery would get some starring parts. He was great in I’m Through With White Girls.

  34. I know the Dollhouse was off to a rough start, but they got Mehcad!! Thats two amazing black actors in less than half a season! And their roles are that of smart (and hopefully in time complex) characters! Depending on how quick they kill off my future husband, I’m hooked.And in Whedon’s defense, while his leads are often melanin-less and talentless, all his sci-fi shows allow for a story line to develop with interesting black characters. They aren’t just relegated to boring roles; they often get really amazing lines and when they do get killed off ( which is the way it always goes), they are dearly missed because the character was so fabulous. While their chance at another role in hollywood is scarce, they at least know they can get paid for years to come off of residuals and whedon conventions.There in lies the making of continually paid black actors- an all black sci-fi show.

  35. ITA w/ almost all of what Snob wrote here! I LOVE Harry Lennix- he used to be a public school teacher (like I was)!!! As for Angela Bassett, did you know she turned down Halle Berry's role in "Monster's Ball?" Billy Bob Thornton FIRST wanted to work w/ Angela, NOT Halle, but Angela doesn't do nudity and called the role "disgusting." I also agree w/ the comment that Courtney B. Vance is NOT a huge screen presence- he's a fine character actor though (and you can make decent $ doing that). Society is WAY ahead of Hollywood (as usual). We def need more Indian, Chinese, Korean, and Mexican actors, writers, producers, etc. to "make it" in the mainstream world.

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