Interview with Ossie Davis

You remember I was telling you on the phone that one person took little film and said for the first time I saw Malcolm X smile and that's something I'll take away with me when I see this movie. He caused you to laugh a lot. Do you remember anything or can you give me an idea?


Yes. Malcolm had excess to folk humor and street wit, you know, which he used magnificently. And he described often debates and encounters he had with traditional civil rights leaders. And, ah, I will leave them nameless but his capacity to, to, ah, imitate, ah, you know, to give you a thumbnail feeling of who they were and where they came from was devastating. And one of the things he, he spoke about was about somebody who was so Black, you know, the Blackest brother who ever lived and he went to the man's house and knocked on the door and the brother stepped out, man, and greeted him Blackly you know and it was so Black, you know, the sun could hardly get into the hallway. And then he introduced him to his wife who was White and blonde and Malcolm laughed that the brother had these two different standards of what was beautiful. His humor always had a point. A political point. A cultural point. To help us regenerate ourselves from the degradation he felt that we that was imposed on us by living in this exploitative society. His humor was never cruel it was never denigrating in that sense of the word. It always meant to help you get rid of some illusion so you could move on up a little higher.