It breaks my heart to bid farewell to the unbelievably talented, stylish, brilliant and adorable firebrand Ruby Dee (October 27, 1922 – June 11, 2014)
My very first thought when I heard Audra McDonald was the first woman to win six Tony awards last week was "Really? But what about Ruby Dee?!!"
"The kind of beauty I want most is the hard-to-get kind that comes from within: strength, courage, dignity."
Ruby Dee was the kind of Black woman that you don't see or hear about when the mainstream talks about Black women and a figure that I fear history will too soon forget, although we've canonized the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe.
"God, make me so uncomfortable that I will do the very thing I fear."
She was a dramatic presence to be reckoned with, an intellectual, an artist, an activist and a devoted wife and mother for more than 50 years (though it never diminished her individual accomplishments).
Together with her husband Ossie Davis she gave us the best Black love story of the 20th century, a story of true partnership, inspiration and mutual respect for each other's talents and careers. A fascinating timeline of their lives together - which spans some of the greatest moments in African-American history - can be found here.
I'm not sure what is happening with the release of this documentary Ruby's grandson was making about his grandparents' lives, but in the meantime I encourage you all to go watch one of Ruby's uniquely charismatic performances on Netflix, especially her most celebrated role as Ruth Younger opposite Sidney Poitier in A Raisin in the Sun.
So much power in a single expression. Such a great amount of intelligence, dynamism and artistry in such a tiny package. I was always in such awe of her elegance, her gravitas and her vivacity. And she had the best dimples in the game.
Rest in peace Great Lady.