When “The Butler” comes out on August 16, there will be three Black men that made it happen – director Lee Daniels, White House butler Eugene Allen and journalist Wil Haygood, who wrote the original “Washington Post” article, “A Butler Well Served by This Election” that inspired the movie. Haygood’s book “The Butler: A Witness to History,” Allen’s true-life story, is in stores now, though the movie version takes some dramatic liberties. You can hear Sybil’s interview with Haygood here.
For anyone skeptical of a movie about a Black man who spent years in servitude, think again. “The Butler” is much more of rich experience than you would imagine, aided by stellar performances by its varied cast including Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Liev Schrieber, Lenny Kravitz, Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and David Oyewolo.
Haygood says the idea behind the movie came from an experience he had on the Obama campaign trail before the 2008 election.
“After a rally I came outside of this big stadium and saw two young ladies crying. They happenend to have been white young ladies and I asked if there was anything I could do,” Haygood told The Tom Joyner Morning Show. “They were crying because their father stopped speaking to them because they supported this African-American candidate and they were not going to change their minds because they had angered their father. It was a very powerful moment.
I said to myself, Senator Barack Obama is going to win. I just told myself. He was still down in the polls, Hillary Clinton was still in the race, but I told myself he was going to win. And when he does win, I want to be ready with a story from someone from the era of segregation who has worked in the White House. I launched a nationwide search and he was right here in Washington, D.C.”
Allen served in the White House from 1952 -1986, through 8 administrations spanning Truman to Reagan. In the movie, his personal story is used to showcase the country’s changing views of racial issues in America. Allen is not a progressive character – that side is shown through his rebellious son – but what happens to him is also reflective of the evolution of Black America.
“I found him here in Washington, D.C. He lived on a little quiet street, just him and his wife,” Haygood says. “On the eve of the 2008 election, the day before, his wife told their only son Charles that she was so happy because a writer had come by and somebody was going to write a story about her husband. She said ‘I’m so at peace,’ and then went upstairs to go to bed and died. Three days later my story came out on the front page of the Washington Post and now it’s this big, epic Hollywood movie.”
Haygood’s book “The Butler: A Witness to History” is in stores now. “The Butler” is in theaters on August 16th.
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
1 of 30
2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
2 of 30
3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
3 of 30
4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
4 of 30
5. Jus haaaanngin out
5 of 30
6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
6 of 30
7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
7 of 30
8. new new
8 of 30
9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
9 of 30
10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
10 of 30
11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
11 of 30
12 of 30
13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
13 of 30
14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
14 of 30
15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
15 of 30
16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
16 of 30
17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
17 of 30
18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
18 of 30
19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
19 of 30
20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
20 of 30
21 of 30
22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
22 of 30
23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
23 of 30
24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
24 of 30
25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
25 of 30
26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
26 of 30
27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
27 of 30
28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
28 of 30
29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
29 of 30
30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
30 of 30