Athens, Ga. – The N Word, a 2004 Peabody Award-winning documentary that explores in-depth one of the most inflammatory words in the English language, will be screened at the University of Georgia’s Tate Center movie theater on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m.
The Peabodys and the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts are co-sponsors of the event, which is free and open to the public. After the screening, the film’s writer-director, Todd Larkins Williams, will participate in a question-and-answer session moderated by Peabody director Horace Newcomb.
“Todd Williams is an outstanding writer and director,” Newcomb said. “With The N Word, he confronted one of the most highly charged topics in American social life. His brilliant account of the uses of the racial slur from the 17th century to our present day represents the kind of challenge and achievement that captures the real meaning of the Peabody Award.”
The N Word is as timely today as it was when it was first televised on the Trio cable channel, as evidenced by the controversy over former Seinfeld costar Michael Richards’ angry use of the term last November.
In the opening montage of The N Word, the word is repeatedly uttered, confronting viewers with powerful and conflicting sounds of hatred and affection. The documentary analyzes the historical roots of the term, considers the word’s current use in popular culture, and asks if the use of the epithet by many hip-hop inspired youth, white as well as black, has stripped away its power to insult and enrage.
Celebrities who weigh in on the topic in the documentary include comedians Chris Rock and George Carlin, hip hop artists Ice Cube and Chuck D, and actors Samuel L. Jackson, Ving Rhames, Whoopi Goldberg and Michael Rapaport. The late Richard Pryor is represented by archival concert clips. Viewers also hear from political activist Dick Gregory, newscaster Bryant Gumbel, and scholars such as Alvin Poussaint, Donald Bogle and Robert A. Pratt, head of UGA’s Department of History.
The Peabody Awards, the oldest in electronic media, are also considered among the most prestigious and selective. The Peabodys recognize excellence and meritorious work by radio and television stations, networks, Webcasters, producing organizations and individuals. The 16-member Peabody Board is a distinguished panel of television critics, industry practitioners and experts in culture and the arts. Selection is made by the Board following review by special screening committees of University of Georgia faculty, students, and staff. For more information regarding the Peabody Awards program, the Peabody Awards Collection, and the Peabody Center for Media and Society see www.peabody.uga.edu.
The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at UGA administers the Peabody Awards, as it has since the program’s inception in 1940. Established in 1915, the Grady College provides seven undergraduate majors including advertising, broadcast news, magazines, newspapers, public relations, publication management and telecommunication arts. The college offers two graduate degrees and is home to the Knight Chair in Health and Medical Journalism. For more information, visit www.grady.uga.edu.
The Willson Center for Humanities and Arts promotes scholarly inquiry and creative activity in the humanities and the arts. The Willson Center supports faculty research grants, lectures and campus visits by scholars and artists, and conferences, exhibitions, and performances.