When you turn 80 these days, it’s something to celebrate. Living legend, national treasure and civil rights and health activist Dick Gregory turns 80 this Friday and will be celebrated via a 3-hour live radio tribute this Friday on “The Carl Nelson Show" on 1450 WOL Radio in Washington, D.C.
Gregory is practically his own chapter of Black history. The St. Louis native once ran for President and got his start as a civil rights leader after excelling at track in high school. After being drafted into the Army, his comic skills were discovered and he moved to Chicago after his service. There he became a cohort of comedians like Bill Cosby. But “Playboy” founder Hugh Hefner put Gregory on the map after hearing him perform a racially satiric routine in front of a predominantly white audience. Gregory began performing at the then popular Playboy Club and the rest is definitely black history.
Gregory’s popularity and his skits that dealt frankly with racism led to his involvement in civil rights. Gregory ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Chicago in 1967 and President of the United States in 1968 to draw attention to the problems of African-Americans. He’s supported feminism and the anti-apartheid movement as well as healthy living. Gregory was diagnosed with lymphoma but has kept it at bay for over a decade with he says, his regimen of fruits, vegetables, supplements and exercise. His book “Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat: Cookin’ With Mother Nature” was published in 1973, putting him at the forefront of the early healthy living movement. Gregory is the author of several other books including a few memoirs, one entitled “Ni—er,” which details the hardships of his life growing up poor, black and without a father.
Gregory continues to be a force, speaking around the world and performing. He’s still keenly interested in politics and the state of the world. In his 80 years, he’s seen a lot of changes but says he believe actions are always better than ideals.
“I don’t believe in hope,” he told Democracynow.org earlier this year. “We got in outer space; there wasn’t hope. We made rockets; there wasn’t hope. You bring in the hardcore scientists and shine a light on it and say, "We have to do this." If I had a brain tumor, I don’t hope it’s going to get out; I’m going to ask you who’s the best brain surgeon here, and I’ll go to him. And that’s what’s going to happen. You shift the mindset of young folks that says, what you’re doing here goes out there. This don’t have to happen, that it’s not all right. I come up in a black community when a cop beat up you and your brother, they say, "Well, thank God they didn’t kill you." That’s no more. That’s no more.”
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
1 of 25
2 of 25
3 of 25
4 of 25
5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
5 of 25
6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
6 of 25
7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
7 of 25
8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
8 of 25
9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
9 of 25
10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
10 of 25
11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
11 of 25
12. Late nights mornings
12 of 25
13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
13 of 25
14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
14 of 25
15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
15 of 25
16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
16 of 25
17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
17 of 25
18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
18 of 25
19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
19 of 25
20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
20 of 25
21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
21 of 25
22. Claudia Jordan: ....
22 of 25
23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
23 of 25
24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
24 of 25
25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
25 of 25