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tv   Our World With Black Enterprise  FOX  May 20, 2012 5:30am-6:00am PDT

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this week on "our world" the black enterprise. we're at the schomberg center. we catch up with one of the stars of the broadway hit. david alan greer is a hit. the divide among african-americans. who is the next generation of leaders, and is he leading a new york institution into the new century. that's what's going on in our world. up next. [ male announcer next gear is reinventing the best-selling camry... and making it a 200 hp... 43 mpg rated, hybrid. ♪ next gear is the ability to connect to the world with your voice.
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don't worry honey, it only works on checks. deposit checks from your smartphone with chase quickdeposit. just snap a picture, hit send and done. take a step forward and chase what matters. this is david alan grier, and you are watching "our world" the black enterprise. i gave him the little look. that's it. ♪ the love story that's been told to many generations is back on broadway. ♪ >> i caught up with one of the co-stars david alan grier.
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♪ oh, yeah >> whoa, whoa! ♪ ♪ bop, be-bop, bow, boo >> we're here with the legendary actor david alan grier. thank you for being here today, man. >> thank you for having me. >> talk to me about this new play that you're a part of. the old and new, right? >> new production directed by diane pollis. myself, norm lewis, audra mcdonald ripping it up, man, every night, having a ball. >> what's it like to have to take hold of an opera, a musical that's been so important to so many people? >> well, there's a lot of ownership. you know, when you do this production of -- this is probably the greatest and most well known american opera, so everybody has a lot of ownership. they remember how they saw it. they remember the film, their favorite production. you know, they come with all of
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that. it was really for me as an artist and for us it's trying to carve out our own production, treating oufrsz as artists and putting that -- putting that over to the side. i'm really not trying to compete with any of those people, any of those previous productions. i'm trying to find my own way in this. >> you certainly are your own way. you've made the play sleeker. it's more efficient, i guess. >> it's better. >> it's better. >> no, no. sorry. i'm not george gerswin. >> we love george gerswin. if it weren't for him, we wouldn't be here. >> you know how people don't like to do remakes. luther vandross, marvin gay. >> it's grand opera. it's being done every day all over the world, and it will exist as the grand opera. it's not as if we said we're
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going to pass a law that it can never be done. that you can only do it our way. we're just interpreting it the way we want to interpret it, you know? >> so far the reviews and the response to your interpretation has been powerful and positive reviews. >> it's been awesome. it's been awesome. especially, you know, we're selling out. to see these audiences give us the response that they're giving us really vibing on what we're doing and the word of mouth is incredible. it really feels great. you know? i was telling people i'm not used to be in a production where everything is great. i'm used to the production where it's, like, look we may make it until next week if you have friends and family. tell them to come now. that's the kind of stuff i'm used to. can i get five tickets? take six. how many do you need? >> you get a ticket. >> take the whole balcony. you know? this is really a joy to actually be able to tell my family and friends, well i'll try and get you tickets. >> it must be a good feeling. >> it's really great. >> it's been to you, your character, your performance.
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people have been impressed by your voice. >> yeah. >> your dramatic chops. ♪ ♪ new york >> how does that feel to get that kind of response? >> it feels great because i'm really working with brilliant legendary people. you know, the reason i really wanted to do this is mcdonald, four-time tony winner. it's not just her. it's from top to bottom the talent that they've assembled in this production. i feel like i had to nightly and i have to step up and meet them at their level. i mean, that is really what is demanded of me. it's one of those things where you come in and you hit the ground running. there is no time to be had stepping, and that's a formal opera term, half-steppin. >> i like that. >> you have these great acting
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chops and you have so much skill. you went to yale. >> i know. i know. >> stand-up is part of me. it's not all of me. this musical side, this dramatic side, i just want to keep living and discovering as an artist, and whichever medium that takes me in, i want to be free to really mind that and discover it and see what happens. >> do you have any preferences? you know, some actors say they love being on broadway because they get the immediate feedback from the crowd right then and there. >> it's fun. it's fun to be in new york. it's fun to work in new york on broadway. >> yeah. >> i still get a thrill. i get a thrill walking to work, walking down the street, seeing my friends that are down the street around the corner who are working. walking through that stage door. it's awesome, and i love what i do. >> do you get any anxiety about playing a character, particularly in this performance, who has been played by cass calloway, sammy davis j
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jr. are you standing on extraordinary shoulders. >> these are heroes of mine, so there's never any part of the process where i have to do better than, greater than. i just am grateful for this opportunity and trying to find my own way in this production because, you know, sammy davis jr., they don't make brothers like that. he did everything. >> right. >> nowadays -- it's like tiger woods, michael jordan all rolled into one. plus, he could sing, act like denzel. i mean, all that stuff. brothers, now you got one area of expertise, you know? >> right. right. what about the next generation? you talk about people who influenced you. how do you feel about the next generation of young actors? is hollywood better, is broadway better? >> it is better. you know, when i was a young actor -- when i was a young actor -- there was one famous brother. it was, like, okay, richard pryor, and then he gave it to eddie murphy, and then it broke wide open. now there's room. there's room for more than one token person of color. >> speaking of color, "in living
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color" has been revived? >> that's a good segue right there. speaking of color. >> i'm working on segues, man. >> i tweeted, you know, hey "in living color" is getting back. they're getting the band back together. are you going to be back there? really? this is 20 years. we need a new young cast. >> right. >> and that will be the key to its success. >> we got to see a "men on preliminary" or "men on twitter." you can't get away with that. >> come on. i don't know if we can do that, but we'll do something. >> life is good? >> life is good. >> thanks for being here. >> thanks for having me. >> up next, justt how much are blacks behind in technology? the answer will surprise you. >> 50% of african-americans have brad band access right now. 65% of white americans have it. when you start talking about lower income communities, under served communities, [ stevie wonder's "i just called to say i love you" plays ♪ ♪ i just called ♪ to say i love you
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think bond. gold bond. ♪ this stuff works welcome back. everyone knows african-americans use technology in a variety of ways, but studies show that we're still on the wrong side of the digital divide. how much is true? a panel of experts give us the answer. >> joining me to have this discussion are cheryl huggins-solomon at the stephanie humphries tech write expert and your black, and, of course, our own patricia, director of digital pr and marketing for black enterprise. thank you all for being here. the question i have been wanting to know is people keep saying the african-american community doesn't access technology, that we're not full participants in this whole thing, but everybody i know has a cell phone. everybody is on the internet. everybody i know is texting.
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what is going on here? >> everybody is texting because it's easy to get a prepaid phone from cricket and talk to your friends, but it's the quality of engagement that i think is changing, and that's where we are lacking as a community. we're not engaging in a more quality way. >> what would high quality engagement be? >> sms is high -- >> that's texting. >> yes. in terms of high quality engagement, if you are able to access the broad banaled internet, then you are in a place where you can effectively research. you can share and send information across a number of different delivery platforms effectively. i think that's where we see a limitation in african-american community. >> pew did a study and they showed that when african-americans do have broadband, they end up looking for information about jobs, about housing, about health care and about church, of course. >> of course. of course. >> okay. so when that access is there, we use it in a way, this high
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quality engagement that you are talking bshg but we don't have as much access, and that's the problem. >> i'm glad you talked about the point of access because we've been talking about the digital divide. >> it's the gap between technology education, technology access, broadband internet access being a huge part of that, and just overall technology, knowledge between white americans and black and latino americans. >> the gap is in the united states is real. >> the gap is very real, yes. 50% of african-americans have broadband access right now. 65% of white americans have it. when you start talking about lower income communities, under served communities that, 50% number drops dramatically. almost by half. >> what are the things we can do to close that gap between those that have and those that don't? >> looking at where we are. there is a high level of engagement on smart phones for african-americans, and i think that's why wr we need to take a look at the resources available to really grow a business or compete effecttively from a career standpoint with your actual smartphone, and there are -- >> blik blackberries, iphone. >> android. really want one of those. those are the ways in which you can -- in terms of technology
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start to take a look at where the value is in those outside of tweeting and liking, you know, if you are looking at facebook. if you have a small business, you can essentially run your business from a smartphone. it's an ability we have. it's just accessing information to leverage it is where we're limited as well. >> one of the things i know black people are accessing. it's social media. we are over represented. if we don't have anything else, black people are tweeting and facebooking? >> when we only make up 12% of the population. >> if you look at the communication patterns of african-americans on twitter, they're highly unique. if you look at the trending topics on twitter, more than likely you're going to find that there are a lot of cultural significance to what people find worthy of engaging in terms of issues, so a lot of the most popular trending topics on twitter are those created by african-americans. usually they're under the age of 35, and it speaks to sort of a code word or a code culture in which they've sort of developed around their own communication.
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so it's fun. it's definitely something that requires folks to want to be engaged in a viral capacity, and i think that's what makes twitter so effective for african-americans. >> you make this soubd -- i just like to talk about the devices. >> we are communicating on twitter, but not the same way we're doing it in our community, and it's on a much broader scale. >> however, look at the trending topic that is happened around troy davis and leading up to his execution and we also use it for good. we use it to organize. if you look at occupy wall street. there are definitely issues that we rally around, and we do use twitter. >> is there a generation piece to this too? i've also heard that young people use facebook. older people use twitter. is that fairly accurate? >> i know my mom is on twitter and facebook, and the data -- the last data i've seen says you have a 60% jump in boomers who engage in social media. it was 20% last year. it's 32% now. folks are -- everybody is involved pretty much in social media these days. >> i'm glad you made this point
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because one of the concerns people have about digital media is that while it may get people engaged, it doesn't get them out of their house. many old school folks will say this digital technology is great, and people don't talk to each other anymore. they don't connect. does our community become fragmented because of this stuff? >> i think it makes us more collaborative. i think it allows us to all centralize in an area where we may not be able to connect face-to-face, but we can all chime in or discuss issues that are relevant or discuss, you know, trending topics that are relevant, and i think that makes a far more collaborative dynamic space. it's different, but i don't know that it's not as efficient or better. >> it is social media, after all, so i think we are still engaging. especially with the changes that are happening with facebook and google plus where you have that group chat situation. you can actually be looking at someone face-to-face and engaging them in a way that you would normally if you were sitting next to them in a room. i think it's just different, but the same. >> i mean, do we lose anything when we do that? i still -- part of me feels like there's something different
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about having this conversation where i can see you all and reach out to you all than if we were having it over skype or if we were having it over a google chat. do we lose anything by not having physical contact with people? >> we lose, but we also gain. there is no substitute to engaging people face-to-face. >> so five years from now if the digital gap is sufficiently closed, and we're doing what we need to do to invest in it through infrastructure, through education, how is the black community using technology? >> i think we capitalize in some way on the mobile marketing potential of smartphone usage, and we're able to create businesses and real dynamic strategies across a political landscape and beyond with respect to our smartphones. since we already have them, i think it's a great way to leverage them in a way that we can actually measure in terms of results across a number of different areas. >> and there was a study recently at the university of michigan, a professor estimated that in five years every child k through 12 will have a mobile handheld device. now, i don't know how accurate that is, but it's probably going
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to be close, so i think we will see smartphones and apps used more in learning as well and just engaging kids in a way that you can't get in a classroom. >> well, i hope we're not just using technology. i hope we're creating technology. we've got to get to the top of this divide, close it up, and then we have to also become part of the innovators as well. >> thank you all so much for being here. stay right there. we'll be right back. up next, a man who is helping to keep the pulse of black culture beating. >> history can help to navigate some of what happened in the past. it gives people a deeper sense that they're not dealing with these problems for the first time. >> on the record is brought to you by statete farm, find
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welcome back to "our world" with black enterprise. is he responsible for the freshman spirit in the schomburg center. dr. cal he'll mohammed is a slice of life. is he the new director of the new york public library schomburg center for research in black culture.
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>> i want this center to be as aggressive and as well positioned as possible to be a resource to anyone who has questions about the kind of country we live in and the kind of country that we can live in. >> cal he'll mohammed is a respected scholar and author. is he also the great grandson of elijah mohammed, founder of the country of islam. >> given that i was want yet 3 years old when he passed, i have never tried to claim more connection to him than my biographical connection. >> as it turns out, mohammed took office during the same time the schomburg featured a special from its featured collection on malcolm x. >> my great grandfather malcolm x helped to create the space in this country necessary for the real change that took place in 1960s. >> keeping history like that alive for generations to come is only one of his goals.
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>> what's special and perhaps unique about kalil mohammed is that he is not only a brilliant scholar and public intellectual, but he is also an extraordinarily gifted administrator. he wants the schomburg to discover the past and learn from it. >> we want to raise the historical literacy of young people so that they feel comfortable asking the kinds of questions that a young 29-year-old baptist minister named martin luther king asked in montgomery, alabama. >> do you hear more about martin luther king at school or malcolm x? >> martin luther king. >> yeah. >> yeah. >> he seems interested in getting the youth involved and having the children learn about their history. >> this educator is dedicated to helping young people realize the value of preserving their own history. >> will we one day say the rap of lil wayne in the schomburg. >> i think it's a good idea, actually. i think all these questions about who is black, what is black, whether i fit in the
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world, so i have to bring those questions front and center into the life of this institution. >> for kalil mohammed the schomburg center is about the past and the future. >> we live in a time where some of the same problems of racial inequality, of racial disparity are still very much a part of the equation and history can help to navigate some of what happened in the past to give people a deeper sense that they're not dealing with these problems for the first time. >> we'll be right back. hey, it's me again. since i became part of that mccafé frozen strawberry lemonade at mcdonald's, life's gotten better. people call me citrus límon out of respect. women pucker up when they see me. [ smooches i can even laugh when someone refers to an exploding television as a lemon. [ laughs you got to get some of that icy lemon swirl with the sweet taste of strawberries before it's gone.
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♪ >> that wraps it up for this edition of "our world" with black enterprise. be sure to visit us on the web at black world. you can fan owes facebook or follow me on twitter. thanks for watching. see you next week. -- captions by vitac -- >> smart people talking about text messages. >> i'm into low tech.
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