^ In the Spotlight 'K
(L-R) Mark Watson (C. Thomas) and Gor
don Bloomfield (Ayre Gross) scout the
Har\’ard Law School catalogue looking
for scholarships for which Mark might
I went to see this movie expecting to
really hate it. I mean, come on now — a
white man trying to portray a black to gain
entry into Harvard’s Law School! I ex
pected to run into stereotypes left and
right, where there should have been none.
Soulman, produced by Steve Tisch
and directed by Steve Miner, deals with
the college experience of a student who,
in his attempt to look black, runs into
racial violence, slurs, and more prob
lems than he bargained for.
Thomas Howell plays the perpetrator,
and Rae Dawn Chung stars as Sara ‘Alice
Walker,’ a struggling black Harvard law
student that Watson falls in love with.
James Earl Jones plays as the law
Well — there were a lot of
stereotypes. But I don’t think the movie
could have brought the point across
without using them. And the point was
that even if a white person were to ac
curately portray a black person and get
away with it, he could only obtain a
limited experience of what it feels like to
be black. It’s a totally different ordeal
when you can’t just step out of the role
as Marc Watson did.
It’s different because a white person
could not know beforehand what it feels
like to have under your belt, two hundred
years of oppression and still further pre
judice and discrimination.
I question whether the movie should
be regarded as a true comedy due to the
seriousness of its underlying point.
“Soulman” granted much of the aud
ience with an overexaggerated, yet impor
tant look at a predominantly white univer
sity — in this age, the prestigious institu
tion of Harvard University.
The movie also hits a serious spot
when it introduces an interracial relation
ship into its plot.
However, its forte is its humor,
which exists throughout the movie.
They discovered the Henry Q. Bouchard
scholarship — but it’s for a black
© 1986 New World Pictures. All rights
When critiquing a movie, one must
look at the negative aspects as well. The
plot of the movie really could have been
more tightly structured, especially when
you have two white guys in the movie
continually showing up wherever Marc
Watson was, to crack jokes about black
And then later in the movie, Watson
is thrown in jail for no other reason than
the color of his skin. And he is beat up
by a group of white men because they lost
a baseball game to a “nigger team.”
After the movie was over, I spoke
with a few members of the audience to get
their impression of Watson. The audience
seemed to be more disturbed about the ap
pearance of the main character than they
were concerned about the role the
The overall view was that he did not
look black because he had no black facial
features — not many blacks fiave straight
noses and pink lips. In fact, concerning
Watson’s color, he looked dark green or
olive instead of brown or dark brown.
Overall, I like Soulman. It’s humor
wins out over its overbearing stereotyp
ing. I would suggest to anyone to go see it.
Vandross ‘‘Gives Us the Reason”
For those of you who are getting tired
of the rapping, scratching, synthesized
music that blitzes the radio today, take
comfort in the fact that the versatile, soft-
voiced, smooth-sounding Luther Van
dross has released yet another outstanding
Give Me the Reason, is a package of
Vandross’ well-liked ballads, as well as
some finely produced upbeat tunes.
The title song. Give Me the Reason,
is among the upbeat tunes of the album
and cherished success earlier in the year
with apf)earances on the soul and pop
This fast-paced tune was the sound
track for the movie Ruthless People star
ring Bette Milder.
The best surprise of the album can be
credited to the presence of another
smooth-sounding vocalist who is ordinari
ly know as a dancer. Gregory Hines teams
up with Vandross for a clean-sounding,
soft tune. The two harmonize surprising
No doubt that this release will be en
joyed by the many Vandross fans that
swooned to the soft tunes of Vandross’
The song from the album that is
presently released is called Stop the Love.
It is an upbeat tune in which the singer
begs for his working lady to return home
to “celebrate the love we got.’’It has a
slightly heavier beat than does the title cut.
.This too will be another hit for Vandross.
The career of this celebrated vocalist
dates back to his experiences in a
workshop which took place in the famed
Apollo Theater in New York.
Here Vandross was a member of the
workshop Listen My Brother, where
talented artists were taught to improve
their artistic abilities.
Vandross was born in New York
City's eastern side and grew up in the
Bronx in the late 1960’s.
Since then his career has included
singing background to David Bowie, Bette
Midler, Chaka Khan and the Average
Vandross was finally luckj enough to
get a break and go out on his own. Since
then he has entertained many Rhythm and
Blues listeners for several years.
Give Me the Reason contains more of
these entertaining tunes and is well-worth
Luther Vandross (photo by Matthew Rolston © 1986 CBS, Inc.)
So many choirs. So many different,
diverse, completely talented choirs, how
would anyone attempt to judge who was
“best”? Special Guest Shirley Caesar said
it best when she said, “This is not a night
for choirs to outdo each other, but all
glory goes to God.”
This simple sentence served to set the
tone for Carolina Gospelfest ’86, a
celebration of Gospel music of the
Carolina region on November 15. And
what a celebration it was! From High
Point’s Memorial United Methodist In
spirational Choir and its 24 members to
Eden’s Southern Western District Choir
Gospelfest ’86 Displays Wide Area Talent
and its 100-1- from Fayetteville’s Williams
CHapel Youth Choir and its eight-year-old
soloists to the Family Fellowship Mass
Choir from Raeford, completely com
posed of decendants from the Purcell clan,
no choir held back on this night to
remember. If you like gospel music, if
you like music at all, “You shoulda been
there,” as stated by WRAL’s J.D. Lewis.
For more than three hours, Raleigh
Memorial Auditorium was treated to some
of the best toe-tapping, hand-clapping,
gettin’ happy music remembered by much
of the audience. Joseph Cherry, who came
from Washington, DC for the concert,
said, “This is, without a doubt, the best
Gospel music festival I’ve ever been to.”
Altogether, with appearances by Ms.
Caesar and the Love Center District
Choir, Gospelfest ’85 winners, seven
choirs competed for the title of Gospelfest
’86 Grand prize winners. The BSM
Gospel Choir sang fabulously, and re
ceived an honorable mention for fourth
place. Danny Lytle, choir director was,
“...completely satisfied, as the choir
worked hard and did much better than we
did last year.” Ray Wallington, choir
president, agreed. “The competition was
really tight. Many choirs could have
won,” he stated.
The eventual winners were the Fami
ly Fellowship Mass Choir, behind the
strong lead vocals of Sherry Purcell. Dola
Purcell, choir organist and Sherry’s
mother, said that the excitement was too
great for her group, as they had only been
formed three months before the competi
tion began. “I give all the glory to God,
for it was his work,” she exclaimed.
Many thanks were given to the
McDonald’s corporation for their spon
sorship and hard work, and to each of the
choirs. And as Kent Brooks, BSM choir
pianist said, “There’s always next year.”