Students + Campus

UCLA programs to host Jackie Robinson film screening and panel discussion

Showing of ‘42,’ discussion of African-Americans in sports and entertainment highlight May 5 event

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42 movie poster

Following a screening of “42,” panelists will discuss the role of African-Americans in sports and entertainment.

Before the 2014–15 academic year, all new UCLA undergraduates were encouraged to read “I Never Had it Made,” which details Jackie Robinson’s struggle to take his place in Major League Baseball. More recently, UCLA’s Bunche Center for African American Studies published the 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report, which highlighted the struggles of women and people of color to take their places in the entertainment industry.

On Tuesday, the two efforts will converge in a screening of “42,” the critically acclaimed film about Robinson, and a discussion on the role of African-Americans in sports and entertainment.

Panelists will be Rafer Johnson, Olympic gold medalist and UCLA alumnus; Tommy Davis, former Los Angeles Dodgers great; Ron Taylor, former vice president of diversity development at Fox Broadcasting; and Paul Von Blum, a senior lecturer in UCLA’s African American studies and communication studies departments. Safiya Noble, a UCLA assistant professor of information studies, will moderate.

“This event offers a rare opportunity for students, scholars, athletes and media executives to come together to explore not only the historical experiences of African-Americans integrating American sports, but also how that experience is reflected in mass culture at a moment in which the role and representation of people of color in entertainment is an urgent part of our national cultural conversation,” said Darnell Hunt, director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. “The fact this gathering is happening at the same time that much of UCLA is engaged in a year-long discussion about Robinson’s autobiography makes the event even more exciting.”

Last summer, more than 5,700 first-year and 3,100 transfer students received copies of “I Never Had it Made” through UCLA’s Common Book program. Presentations about the book have been supplemented during the past several months by student-generated events. Allison McComb, director for first year experience in UCLA’s Division of Student Affairs, said response to the book has been very strong from students, faculty and staff.

Tuesday’s event is part of the Bunche Center’s “Images in Blackness” series, which each year presents filmmakers and scholars whose work explores the impact and the absence of diversity in the entertainment industry.

The event will take place at 5 p.m., Tuesday, May 5, in Kerckhoff Hall’s Charles E. Young Grand Salon on the UCLA campus (map). It is sponsored by the Bunche Center and the First Year Experience office.

The event is free and open to the public. Visit the event website for more information.

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