By Ryan Velez
Posted November 6th 2018
(PHOTO: CHERYL BOONE ISSACS, EXECUTIVE REPRESENTATIVE FOR THE PUBLIC RELATIONS BRANCH OF THE ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES)
When names like legendary producer Quincy Jones and former Academy Head Cheryl Boone Issacs come together, everyone should take a look. The Hollywood Reporter says that the two are going to be making an unprecedented partnership: creating a documentary on the long history of black people in Hollywood. The announcement was made by Jones upon winning a lifetime achievement award at the Ischia Film and Music Festival.
“We’re in the process of starting to do a documentary now called American Film: The Black Experience. [Boone Isaacs] invited me to be co-producer with her,” Jones said at the festival, at which Boone Isaacs is chairwoman. “I’m very excited about that,” he added. For Boone Issacs, she sees the project as a chance to become a comprehensive look about a piece of history that often gets missed. “I think what is important is the backstory of us in the entertainment business, whether it’s film, music or television,” she said.
She added that she wanted “to get the story out of the contributions that have been made by so many, not just the celebrities, which even that backstory has not been told enough; and the relationship among folks and growing and working together in order to improve.” One example she gave was that of sound designer Willie D. Burton. While he may not be a household name, he is an extremely influential figure, being the second most Oscar-nominated African American, with seven nominations. This is a number that ties him with Quincy Jones, ironically enough.
“There are so many of us that people don’t know about, which is what we are going to bring forth and tell the world,” she said. During the event, held off the coast of Naples, Italy, Jones also reminisced about a variety of vivid memories from his life. He recalled one of the most instrumental ones being meeting Ray Charles when he was only 14. “He had his own apartment. I’m still living at home with my precious type step-mother,” said Jones. “He had two girlfriends. He had a record player. He had two suits, two pairs of shoes. Man, please. Prego!”