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.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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