Actor, director, and activist Danny Glover is interviewed by Professor of Studio Art and Africana Studies Johnny Coleman after the screening of The Last Black Man in San Francisco, in which Glover portrays Grandpa Allen. The film launched Oberlin’s first Kuumba Week Film Festival. Kuumba Week is an annual celebration of black creativity.
InThe Last Black Man in San Francisco, Jimmie Fails dreams of reclaiming the Victorian home his grandfather built in the heart of San Francisco. Joined on his quest by his best friend Monty, Jimmie searches for belonging in a rapidly changing city that seems to have left them behind.
Personally, “I was always interested in old housing,” said Glover in reference to the large mansion that plays a key role in the film. Having spent much of his life in San Francisco, Glover had been exposed to many ornate historic homes. The city also played a large part in his development as an actor and activist.
While in San Francisco, Glover trained at the Black Actors' Workshop of the American Conservatory Theater and attended San Francisco State University. Although he was exposed to activism through his parent’s involvement with the NAACP, he was impressed with “young people who were in the movement as organizers” in the late 1960s. His involvement with the Black Students Union would lead to the establishment of an ethnic studies department at San Francisco State University. In the 1970s, “I thought there was something I could say as an actor,” said Glover. But activism was never far behind.
“I have always seen art as activism.”
The Kuumba Week Film Festival continues through November 22, with screenings of Amazing Grace, KiKi, Agents of Change, and Do the Right Thing.
View more images from Johnny Coleman’s interview with Danny Glover on Oberlin Flickr
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