Author Trey Ellis visited Gateway Community College Feb. 19 to discuss his current project, an HBO film about Amos ’n’ Andy. The show ran for just two and a half years in the 1950s yet continues to hold a cultural charge to this day. Though based on the radio show created by two white actors voicing black characters, the black actors of the TV show were television pioneers that have been woefully misunderstood ever since.
Ellis is a novelist, screenwriter, playwright, essayist and an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of the Arts at Columbia University. He is the author of the novels, Platitudes, Home Repairs and the American Book Award-Winning, Right Here, Right Now, as well as the memoir Bedtime Stories. His work for the screen includes the Peabody-winning and Emmy-nominated HBO film The Tuskegee Airmen, and Good Fences for Showtime, which was shortlisted for the PEN award for Best Teleplay of the year. His essays have appeared in The New York Times, Playboy, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, GQ and Vanity Fair and he has contributed audio commentary to NPR’s "All Things Considered." His first play, Fly, also written with Ricardo Khan, was produced by the Lincoln Center Institute and continues to be performed around the country, including at the Crossroads Theater, The Vineyard Theater and Washington, D.C.’s historic Ford’s Theater. He is also a frequent and longtime political blogger on the HuffingtonPost.
The discussion was made possible through the Esther Haseltine Schiavone Cultural Fund, established by Jennifer Schiavone through the Gateway Community College Foundation, Inc.