It’s as if this television production of A Raisin in the Sun is the second coming of the Lord.
Am I to feel all warm and fuzzy about this particular production merely because no one takes a bullet to the brain; and it is without pimps, drug dealers and whores?
Is this production lovely and marvelous because the characters are nice and some of the players are respectable, likeable or award-winning actors and because the work is a praiseworthy drama about an impoverished black family?
It is not a matter of good performances by the actors. It is not a matter of whether or not this is a good production. These things are not in question here. I’ll get the kudos out of the way, so as not to be misunderstood. Yes; Lorraine Hansberry was a talented playwright who crafted an exemplary, timeless piece of work. It has been a great stage play and motion picture (starring the illustrious Sidney Poitier). These productions were magical and extraordinary for all the obvious reasons, reasons I won’t go into here.
But this most recent television production? Yeah, it’s all fine and good. And?
This production is yet another television remake of this work. Enough. The work has been produced several times, in varying forms. See the following:
1959 - Debut - Broadway Play
1961 - Motion Picture
1973 - Tony Award Winning Musical; titled, Raisin
1989 – Made-for-TV film
2004 - Broadway Revival, and…
2008 - yet another Made-for-TV film
I saw Sean Combs on one of those morning shows, I believe it was -- just a few days ago.
He said something along these lines:
[I’m glad… I’m doing this because… This is good or necessary…] “because this will bring the story to a new generation.”
This is utter nonsense. This is a sale. theblackactor.com is not buying. This is a vehicle for him to showcase his acting talent as it were, and we’re all supposed to be happy about this because the vehicle chosen (A Raisin in the Sun) is the well-loved, highly regarded work from the respected and highly valued playwright (and screenwriter), Lorraine Hansberry.
I don’t buy this nonsensical rhetoric for one split second.
For a new generation?!! This is absurd.
Similarly, should we change or create for a new generation the works of Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, James Baldwin; the Bible, the Koran? These “works” (as well as a plethora of films) have stood the test of time without remodeling or reworking. I’m quite certain this new generation can obtain Sidney Poitier’s film version, for example; and watch it, understand it and appreciate it.
If you, Mr. Combs, want to give something to the new generation, then give them something,
you zillionaire: hire a talented screenwriter and build a NEW production, with new ideas –- a good story, with interesting characters. Bring on a talented director and a talented cast, etc., etc.
[Not that he’s reading this; I’m just sayin’]
It is easier, no doubt, to give them what they already have (while at the same time riding the coattails of someone else), and to appease your own self-serving interests under the guise of giving to the new generation. This is laughable.
And to suggest that the new generation would be unaware of this work had it not been for Sean Combs, is a weak, baseless argument; one without merit, as far as I’m concerned.
Serving the new generation? Okay. More self-serving, I'd say.