Today I decided to turn away from CNN and ended up immersed in an old movie classic. The 1978 production of the award-winning film The Wiz (Motown Records) is based on the story of The Wizard of Oz but features an all-black cast, a concept modeled after the original stage musical production of the same name. Included in the cast is the incomparable Diana Ross as Dorothy, Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow, Nipsey Russell as the Tin Man, Ted Ross as the cowardly Lion, Lena Horne as Glinda the Good Witch and Richard Pryor as the finagling Oz. It’s widely believed this was the comeuppance needed for the then 20 year old (& cute as a button) MJ. Having already been known as a musical artist and member of The Jackson 5, MJ’s role in The Wiz earned him many accolades and also introduced him to Quincy Jones, who’s credited for playing a huge roll in starting Jackson’s illustrious music career.
Watching The Wiz convinced me to download several of its soundtrack songs, which I further appreciate the significance of as an adult:
“You Can’t Win” speaks to how, even though there is nothing or no one of power holding them back, some people remain stagnant because others have influenced and conditioned them to believe they can’t make it. Those folks most likely are stuck in their own self-imposed limited world where misery loves company.
“You can’t win, you can’t break even and you can’t get out of the game”
Then I found myself lost in “A Brand New Day,” a song of hope, joy and freedom, which, considering the all-black cast, had a more obvious and powerful backstory than where my mind wandered today. I began imagining a future when we are out from under this trouble we’re in with the pandemic and the political and social atrocities plaguing our world. Actually, that’s somewhat the same backstory!
“Everybody look up and feel the hope that we’ve been waiting for”
©️2021 CSNelson, Don’t Forget the Half