The cowardly lion has shed his mane! Last week, David Alan Grier stopped by A&E’s Black & White to share some pro-acting tips. The actor stopped by the show to highlight the night with a little humor and reflect on the days of acting past. When asked about opportunities for people of color at the start of his career he said, “I’ve been acting over thirty years…There were nine hundred fifty thousand black folks fighting for all those Roots roles and all that kinda stuff.”
Grier, who most recently starred in NBC’s The Wiz, is a veteran of the acting community. He is no stranger to shedding light on social issues. He’s graced the Broadway stage in both Race and Porgy & Bess; two Broadway classics that highlight issues of social justice and race. When asked to give aspiring actors some adivice Grier took the road less traveled and introduced us to David Alan Grier’s MassaClass. Grier promised to prepare actors to depict slaves worthy of the Chiwetel stamp of approval.
Whether you need to lift newborns into the high heavens or stand up to the white man, Grier’s got you covered. He nailed each and every stereotype that saturates Hollywood today. His comedic timing is made even more relevant when compared to the trifling decisions made in casting meetings every day. (I’m looking at you, Prince of Egypt).
Grier, as an actor, boasts a diverse career. He’s known for playing an array of characters on his variety show In Living Color, his rich contributions to dramatic acting and hilarious celebrity impressions. Although his career has been plentiful, Grier acknowledges the limited opportunities that are being offered to performers of color. “I feel like we have more opportunity across the board.” he responded when asked about diversity in acting, “We’re not where we should be, but we’re halfway there.”
His segment was pointed and honest in its depiction of the acting world. His outspokenness shows us that there is more work to be done, and there is no better time than now. Brilliance doesn’t stop at the end of a white page, there are stories about black people, for black people, that go far beyond slavery. Let us tell them.
This segment aired during the 2nd episode of Black & White on A&E Aug 03, 2016. The series aired 3 episodes total. You can watch them all HERE.