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April 20, 1988
by DAWN B. GIBSON
As though he had stepped from the
movie screen into the Union auditorium,
Robert Townsend appeared as part of
“Discovery” weekend during Black
The Black Student Movement, along
with co-sponsor the Union Film Commit
tee, featured Robert Townsend on the
University’s campus. Townsend, 31, is
the co-writer, producer, director and star
of the sucessful movie Hollywood Shuffle
which was shown February 26 at 6:00
p.m. and 9:00 p.m. afterwards, Town
send spoke to and answered questions
from the excited audience of students and
faculty from the University and other
residents of Chapel Hill.
Hollywood Shuffle focuses on the
struggle black actors and actresses have
in getting non-stereotypical film roles.
The predominantly black cast included
Anne-Marie Johnson from the television
situation comedy What's Happening Now
and other rising actors and actresses with
whose careers Townsend is helping.
“What inspired you to do Hollywood
Shuffle,” asked a UNC student.
Townsend said that he noticed his
nephew watching television programs
such as The A-Team on which the main
character was a white film actor, and one
of the subordinating and often harsh
characters is a black film actor.
“Why can’t the black character be the
one to take the initiative," Townsend said.
in the film, the character played by
Townsend has a younger brother who
looks up to him and is influenced by his
actions just as Townsend’s viewed the
characters on television. Because of this
influence the film’s main character rejects
a stereotypical and negative role he gets
in a movie.
“I heard a rumor that you paid for
this movie on credit cards,’’ said another
voice from the audience.
“That's true,’’ said Townsend.
Hollywood Shuffle was financed,
Townsend continued, in part by the salary
he received from his acting parts in the
movies Streets of Fire and A Solider’s
Story. When that money ran out, he used
credit cards from sources including TWA,
Gulf Service Station and clothing shps to
tlnish the two year movie.
When asked if he would emphasize
black love in future films, he answered
yes, adding that black love is part of what
it's all about.
“He was so real," said Gerda
Gallop, a UNC student and staff writer for
The Black Ink. “Instead of rushing off to
catch a plane, he stayed and answered so
many questions. I was really impressed by
Townsend not only stayed to answer
questions, he also attended the dance in
the Carolina Union’s Great Hall on cam
pus sponsored by the Alpha Phi Alpha
Fraternity, Inc. Tonya Thurman, another
UNC student and secretary of the BSM
for 1987-1988 talked to the filmaker at the
“You have been a great inspiration
in my life, and I'm glad to have had the
opportunity to meet you," Thurman said.
She said that with a sigh and a hug,
Townsend expressed his feelings of enjoy
ment in Chapel Hill because of the friend
ly and polite people.
by DAWN B. GIBSON
Janet Roach, a senior Public Policy
Analysis and RTVMP major from High
Point, is one of the many black students
who has demonstrated black leadership
and hard work during her years at UNC.
As a freshman, Janet was a member
of the Black Student Movement and the
Freshman Class Committee. During her
second semester as a freshman, she was
elected secretary of the BSM, a position
which she held throughout her sophomore
Last year in January, Janet was
awarded the Martin Luther King scholar
ship. Added to her awards and honors is
the Order of the Golden Fleece for serv
ing as secretary. Some of her other ac
tivities include BSM on-campus coor
dinator, former student television
reporter, WXYC anchor, member of
BSM Ebony Readers, Senior Class
Special Projects Chairman, and coor
dinator of the Black Film Series of this
Roach’s work with Discovery
brought three members of the black film
industry here to Chapel Hill, including
Robert Townsend, writer, producer and
star of the hit movie “Hollywood
The planning began in September of
1987. Roach says that she saw Reginald
Hudlin, one of the members of the black
film industry, and Townsend in the
September 1987 issue of Essence. Her
previous contact with Hudlin enabled her
to make plans to have the fiini stars ap
pear as part of Discovery.
Plans for the appearances were com
pleted in December of last year, Janet
said, and in February students filled the
Union auditorium to witness the results of
Janet’s hard work.
Janet expressed her feelings about her
years and work here by saying, “I’ve
been through my share of ups and downs,
but, for the most part, my experiences
have been rewarding and definitely
learning experiences. I've grown a lot.’’
Janet also said that she’s seen a lot of
things among black students on campus,
but one that bothers her very much is the
black apathy. “I’m hoping the recent
unification over the restructuring of the
Office of Student Counseling will not on
ly carry over with that situation but with
other situations as well," Janet .said.
“1 hope that black students will
become more involved and supportive of
Phi Beta Sigma Siclcle Cell
by TANYA PERSON
“We wanted to get involved in a pro
gram that would really benefit the black
community,” said Tony Blue on Phi Beta
Sigma’s work with the UNC Comprehen
sive Sickle Cell Program (CSCP).
Tony Blue, Service Projects Chair
man for Phi Beta Sigma, says his frater
nity has been working with the sickle cell
program for five years. This year, the
fraternity raised $1,055 as a donation to
‘ 'The main fundraiser was the sell
ing of raffle tickets,” said Blue.
“Our grand prize was a microwave
oven and there were twenty other prizes
However, selling raffle tickets wasn’t
the extent of Phi Beta Sigma’s work with
the program. According to Blue, many
hours of preparation went into the fun
draiser before the raffle began.
“A lot of time is spent soliciting
prizes, talking to hospital administrators,
and general organizing,” said Blue. “The
raffle only lasted for approximately four
In all. Blue said the response to this
year's fundraiser was favorable and Phi
Beta Sigma will continue to slay actively
involved in supporting health programs,
particularly UNC's CSCP.
Dr. Orringer, Director of CSCP
since 1982, says Phi Beta Sigma is the on
ly student organization at UNC that direct
ly donates funds to the program.
“We have received donations,” says
Orringer, “but never anything consistent
ly like we do with Phi Beta Sigma.”
Orringer stated that the money rais
ed by the fraternity is donated to the Bur
roughs Welcome Fund, a gift trust fund
within the program. Money is also used
to help patients meet personal needs such
as funeral bills, light bills, and other
“Well, that’s the main focus of our
fundraiser,” Blue commented. “To help
on a general and individual basis.”
Orringer stated that the purpose of
CSCP was to provide not only medical
services to sickle cell victims, but
psychological services to its patients as
“You’ve got to take a personal in
terest in their health,” added Orringer.
“If you show a patient you care, you'll
see some dramatic improvements.”
According to Orringer, CSCP con
ducts research on the disease with other
sickle cell programs at Duke University
and also works with drug companies and
disease investigators around the country.
“By advancing in our research, we
can provide educational acitivites.” Orr
inger said. “Community activity will pro
mote community awareness of the
Although this comprehensive pro
gram may be beneficial to almost 300
adult and pediatric patients with sickle cell
disease, there are those who aren't able
to participate and cannot receive such aid.
DeJarvis Duckett, a sophomore at
UNC and victim of sickle cell anemia,
said she isn't eligible to receive funds
from the program because she isn’t 21
years old. In addition, a victim must be
independent, a full-time student, and at
tend UNC university.
“I raised all kinds of hell last year but
they said there was nothing they could
do," exclaimed Duckett. “I guess if I was
21 years old they’d help me out.”
Duckett, the only student at UNC
with sickle cell anemia, said she first
discovered she was sick in the first grade
while participating in a running activity.
It was then that she experienced her first
‘pain crisis.’ This occurs when the sickle
shaped blood cells turn sideways to get
through narrow vein passageways. When
other red blood cells cannot get through,
blockage occurs — a build-up of red blood
cells. The result is severe pain in the bone
joints, legs, and back.
“My parents and I ignored the pain
at first,” Duckett said. “But after my first
‘crisis,’ we knew that I was really sick.”
Sickle cell anemia patients can also
experience a ‘platelet crisis’ when the
bone marrow stops producing red blood
cells. Whereas treatment for a ‘pain crisis’
many be a prescriptive pain killer, treat
ment for a ‘platelet crisis’ is more serious
and may result in inter-muscular injections
or blood transfusions.
“In all. I’ve only had two blood
transfusions,” says Duckett. “But I know
either ‘crisis’ can occur at any time.”
Sickle cell disease also changes the
chemical structure of red blood cells
Continued on page 16