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Metro Brief: Never before seen footage of Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis in new documentary

District of Columbia

On February 2, 2015

Life Essentials” follows Ruby Dee and her husband
Ossie Davis in their marriage on stage, in film,
and civil rights movement.

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) and the DC Black History Celebration Commission will present a screening of the documentary, “Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee” Thursday, February 12 at The Lincoln Theatre. A discussion, featuring filmmakers Muta’Ali, grandson of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, and Nevon “NJ” Frank, will follow the screening.

In celebration of Black History Month in Washington, D.C., “Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee,” a documentary-style film about love, art and activism, tells the story of one of the most enduring couples of our time, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis. Their achievements – as partners in a loving marriage of 57 years, as pioneers in Black theater, as civil rights activists and recipients of the National Medal of Arts and the Kennedy Center Honors – parallel nearly a century of change in America. As the filmmaker, their grandson Ali fights to learn from and to preserve their values and wisdom. Based on candid questions, revealing conversations and never-before-seen family footage, “Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee” shares the knowledge of these two icons with the present generation and cements the legacy of the couple.

“This life-affirming program celebrates the legacies of Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis in a very personal way,” said Edmund C. Fleet, Chair of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “The Commission consistently strives to bring arts and humanities to the District of Columbia through special events that raise our collective awareness to highlight the transformational power of the arts.”

“’Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee’ honors two important leaders of the African-American cultural community,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “Their commitment to love, art and activism, during the civil rights era and beyond, is revered through their creativity and courage as artists and activists.”

Doors open at 6 p.m. and the film begins at 7 p.m.

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