Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Weekend B.O. Sept. 12-14 (Will 'No Good Deed's' Success Help Make Taraji P. Henson an A-lister?) Weekend B.O. Sept. 12-14 (Will 'No Good Deed's' Success Help Make Taraji P. Henson an A-lister?) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) Producer Charles Belk and Actress Daniele Watts Apparently "Fit the Description" (Just Another Day in the Neighborhood) TIFF 2014 Review: 'Top Five' is Chris Rock's Funniest Movie in Years - If Not Ever TIFF 2014 Review: 'Top Five' is Chris Rock's Funniest Movie in Years - If Not Ever What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? What’s the Big Secret That Got Those ‘No Good Deed’ Screenings Canceled? TV: New Corrections Officer for 'Orange, Another ABC Drama for Shonda Rhimes, SNL's 1st Black 'Weekend Update' Anchor TV: New Corrections Officer for 'Orange, Another ABC Drama for Shonda Rhimes, SNL's 1st Black 'Weekend Update' Anchor Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Watch First Episode of ABC's New Series 'Black-ish' Now Antoine Fuqua Confirms He'll Be Partnering w/ Denzel Washington on a 'Magnificent Seven' Remake Antoine Fuqua Confirms He'll Be Partnering w/ Denzel Washington on a 'Magnificent Seven' Remake It's a Done Deal - Paramount Pictures Will Distribute Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Worldwide It's a Done Deal - Paramount Pictures Will Distribute Chris Rock's 'Top Five' Worldwide Interview: Taraji P. Henson On 'No Good Deed' and A Woman's Intuition Interview: Taraji P. Henson On 'No Good Deed' and A Woman's Intuition Crowdfund This: 'Newlyweeds' Star Trae Harris Is a 150-year-old African American Vampire in 'Octavia' Crowdfund This: 'Newlyweeds' Star Trae Harris Is a 150-year-old African American Vampire in 'Octavia' Black Kids from Ferguson Speak Out in 'Hey White People' Comedic Video Educating Whites on Racism Black Kids from Ferguson Speak Out in 'Hey White People' Comedic Video Educating Whites on Racism African Americans on TV Guide’s "TV’s Highest Paid Stars 2014" List. You Might Be Surprised African Americans on TV Guide’s "TV’s Highest Paid Stars 2014" List. You Might Be Surprised 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) 'Terror at the Mall,' Documentary on Siege of Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya, Coming to HBO (Trailer) Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Woody Allen Says He Won’t Hire a Black Actor Unless the Role Calls for One... Whatever That Means Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' Watch First Trailer for Tyler Perry's New OWN TV Drama 'If Loving You Is Wrong' OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry OWN Announces Cast for New Drama Series 'If Loving You is Wrong' From Tyler Perry Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Lifetime Launches New Series Set In Elite World Of Hip-Hop Majorette Competitions (Watch Preview) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

New Documentary In The Works On Actor & Gospel Composer Jester Hairston

Shadow and Act By Sergio | Shadow and Act September 10, 2013 at 12:24AM

I think it’s fair to say that when most people think of Jester Hairston today they usually think of his role as Rolly Forbes, the funny, sharp tongued old man on the NBC sitcom Amen with Sherman Hensley, back during the late 80’s to early 90’s.
6
Jester Hariston

I think it’s fair to say that when most people think of Jester Hairston today they usually think of his role as Rolly Forbes, the funny, sharp tongued old man on the NBC sitcom Amen with Sherman Hensley, back during the late 80’s to early 90’s.

But Hairston, who passed away in 2000 at the remarkable age of 99, led a much more interesting and complex life. Not only was he an actor, starting his film career back in 1936 with hundreds of movies and TV performances, including Amos and Andy, In the Heat of the Night and dozens of musical shorts made during the 40’s and 50’s, Hairston was perhaps more well known as a composer (with some over 300 gospel songs to his credit), conductor, arranger and singer.

Born during the height of Jim Crow segregation in North Carolina in 1901, he graduated from high school in Pennsylvania in 1919, and from Tufts University with additional graduate work at Juilliard and the University of the Pacific.

He directed the Federal Theatre Project, and was assistant conductor of the legendary Hall Johnson Choir for fifteen years, and trained choirs for radio, Broadway musicals and movies. He also conducted film background music, toured the world for the State Department during the 1960’s, and was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1992.

And now a documentary is currently in the works about Hairston to be called Amen – The Life and Work of Jester Hairston, which is being developed by The African Diaspora Sacred Music and Musician Program of California State University Dominguez Hills.

The film is being directed by Dr. Hansonia Caldwell, professor emeritus of Music and Africana Studies at California State University, and documentary filmmaker and editor Lillian Benson.

As the filmmakers themselves say about their film, Hairston’s story “is one that is filled with triumphant highs and disparaging lows. But his journey has led him to far away lands, transcending stereotypes and blazing the trail for others who dare to follow.

The work has been in production for the past two years and there’s a website where you can learn more about Hariston and the film project, as well as donate money. Check it out HERE.

Here’s a video of Jester Hairston conducting what is, perhaps, his best known composition:

This article is related to: Coming Soon


Shadow & ActNewsletter