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Basic Black; Conversation With Walter Mosley


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Basic Black
Conversation With Walter Mosley
Program Number


Series Description

THe series was formerly known as Say Brother. Series title change as of 1/8/1998. This series is black produced and is one of public television's longest-running series that is rooted in and reflects the culture, concerns, achievements and history of people of African descent. Also includes controversial issues, African American artists, and events of special interest to the African American community.

Series release date: 1/8/1998

Program Description

BASIC BLACK catches up with mystery writer Walter Mosley to discuss his new collection, Walkin' the Dog (Little Brown). Socrates Forlow, the ex-con hero of Mosely's story collection Always Outnumbered. Always Outgunned. returns, and BASIC BLACK probes this dark, shady character. Have events like the OJ Simpson trial and the Rodney King beating prompted Mosley to create a less likeable hero?

Walter Mosley, author of nine acclaimed novels, talks to Basic Black host Darren Duarte about his life, his career, and his latest collection, Walkin’ the Dog (Little Brown).

Mosley’s mysteries are noted for their authentic characters, period settings, language, and portrayals of segregated inner-city life. Born and raised in a bi-racial family in the Watts neighborhood of South Central Los Angeles, Mosley was a computer programmer before publishing his first novel, Devil in a Blue Dress (W.W. Norton,1990). Set in 1948, the novel introduces Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins, an unwilling amateur detective from Watts. That novel was made into a feature film starring Denzel Washington in 1995, and Easy Rawlins continued his detective work in the novels A Red Death (W.W. Norton,1991), White Butterfly (W.W. Norton,1992), Black Betty (W.W. Norton,1994), and A Little Yellow Dog (W.W. Norton,1997).

Mosley introduced his ex-con character Socrates Fortlow in the short story collection Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (W.W. Norton,1997). Fortlow returns in his newest collection, Walkin’ the Dog (Little Brown, 1999). Mosley talks to Basic Black about how Socrates, an anti-hero, helps him and his readers explore the world of black men on the fringes of society. "Socrates has committed some heinous crimes," says Mosley. "The thing that I need the audience to understand is that this man is seeking redemption. I don’t expect them to forgive him." Mosley also talks to Duarte about racism, growing up in a bi-racial family (his father is black, his mother is Jewish), and his father’s deep influence on his life and career.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Race and Ethnicity
Social Issues
Chicago: “Basic Black; Conversation With Walter Mosley,” 01/27/2000, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed December 17, 2018, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_490A6581498C4FEF9CD4B67F9A9D7D8D.
MLA: “Basic Black; Conversation With Walter Mosley.” 01/27/2000. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. December 17, 2018. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_490A6581498C4FEF9CD4B67F9A9D7D8D>.
APA: Basic Black; Conversation With Walter Mosley. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_490A6581498C4FEF9CD4B67F9A9D7D8D
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