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Basic Black; Conversation With Anna Deavere Smith


MASTER A Conversation with Anna Deavere Smith Show #3712 Taped: 3/20/06 Producer: Valerie Linson Length: 26:46

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Basic Black
Conversation With Anna Deavere Smith
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

By combining the journalistic disciplines of research and interviewing with her creative sensibilities, Anna Deavere Smith was able to revolutionize modern-day theater with a new brand of storytelling. In her breakthrough one-woman play, Fires in the Mirror, which she conceived, wrote, and performed, Smith inhabited the voices of some 30 real people affected by the aftermath of the 1991 riots between blacks and Jews in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, after a 7-year-old black boy was struck and killed by a Hasidic driver. In her second one-woman play, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, about the riots that erupted after four police officers were acquitted in the near fatal beating of black motorist Rodney King

In addition to her achievements in theater, Smith has appeared in the films Rent, The Human Stain, and Philadelphia; she was also a recurring character on the television series The West Wing. In this conversation with guest host Howard Manly, Smith talks about her new book, Letters to a Young Artist: Straight-Up Advice on Making a Life in the Arts, as well as highlights from her acting career.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Social Issues
Race and Ethnicity
Chicago: “Basic Black; Conversation With Anna Deavere Smith,” 03/20/2006, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed January 23, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_9E53AD6FA9AD4E48B0BB8DAB780912CB.
MLA: “Basic Black; Conversation With Anna Deavere Smith.” 03/20/2006. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. January 23, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_9E53AD6FA9AD4E48B0BB8DAB780912CB>.
APA: Basic Black; Conversation With Anna Deavere Smith. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_9E53AD6FA9AD4E48B0BB8DAB780912CB
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