METROFOCUS: SEPTEMBER 4, 2019

Has the billion dollar investment in upstate New York paid off? We’ll explore one of Gov. Cuomo’s signature economic initiatives. Then, CBS’ Jane Pauley, Star Trek’s Anthony Rapp, Outsports’ Dawn Ennis, and others join LGBT members of the press and their allies at this year’s NLGJA Annual New York Benefit: Headlines and Headliners to discuss the state of the Fourth Estate.  And, have you ever met a 94 year old style maven? Born and bred New Yorker Iris Apfel is known for her oversized glasses and original sense of style. She is the subject of a new documentary titled Iris, directed by the late Albert Maysles. His daughter and producer of the film, Rebekah Maysles, joins us to talk about the film, it’s subject, and her father. Finally, Virginia Johnson, Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Artistic Director, joins us to talk about the institution’s humble beginnings and to help usher in the next 50 years of this New York treasure.

Aired on September 4, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

THE BUFFALO BILLION, BOOM OR BUST?

HAS THE BILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT IN UPSTATE NEW YORK PAID OFF?

WE EXPLORE ONE OF GOVERNOR CUOMO'S SIGNATURE ECONOMIC INITIATIVES.

> PROTECTING FAIRNESS AND EQUALITY IN THE NEWSROOM.

JANE PAULY, 'STAR TREK'S' ANTHONY RAPP, DON INNIS AND OTHERS JOIN LGBTQ MEMBERS OF THE PRESS AND THEIR ALLIES TO DISCUSS THE STATE OF THE FOURTH ESTATE.

> AND IN HONOR OF FASHION WEEK WE PRESENT A NEW YORK ORIGINAL, MEET LARGER THAN LIFESTYLE GURU AND FASHION ICON IRIS APFEL WHO AT 98 IS STILL GOING STRONG.

> PLUS THE DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM IS FABULOUS AT 50.

VIRGINIA JOHNSON THE DIRECTOR OF THE DANCE THEATER JOINS US TO TALK ABOUT THE INSTITUTION'S HUMBLE BEGINNINGS AND TO HELP USHER IN THE NEXT 50 YEARS OF THIS TRUE NEW YORK TREASURE.

THOSE STORIES AND MORE AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

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Announcer: THIS IS 'METROFOCUS,' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSLYN P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY --

CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

OVER THE LAST EIGHT YEARS THE CUOMO ADMINISTRATION HAS INVESTED OVER A BILLION DOLLARS IN AN EFFORT TO REVITALIZE THE UPSTATE ECONOMY AND REVERSE DECADES OF ECONOMIC DECLINE.

AT THE CENTER OF THAT MASSIVE INVESTMENT IS THE CITY OF BUFFALO WHICH THE GOVERNOR HAS REIMAGINED AS A TECH HUB, AN ENGINE OF ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR THE ENTIRE REGION.

HAS THAT INVESTMENT BEEN WORTH IT?

OUR BUFFALO AND OTHER CITIES IN WESTERN AND UPSTATE NEW YORK ABOUT TO MAKE A COME BACK?

CITY AND STATE SENIOR HE HAD CORE BEN ADLER TRAVELED TO BUFFALO AND JAMESTOWN TO FIND OUT.

HE JOINS US NOW TO TELL US WHAT HE FOUND.

BEN, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

SO WHEN YOU TRAVELED TO BUFFALO, WHAT DID YOU FIND?

WELL, BUFFALO IS NOT -- DESPITE ITS ENORMOUS POPULATION LOSS AND LOSS OF INDUSTRIAL JOBS IN THE LAST HALF CENTURY, IS NOT AS BADLY OFF AS SOME OF THE OTHER RUST BELT CITIES.

I'VE BEEN TO DETROIT AND REPORTED FROM THERE AS WELL.

DETROIT DEFINITELY FEELS MUCH MORE ABANDONED AND IS OBJECTIVELY DOING WORSE.

BUFFALO IS A MIX OF, YOU KNOW, RUN DOWN AREAS AND SOME, YOU KNOW, LITTLE CHUTES OF REGROWTH, IT'S STARTING TO EXPERIENCE SOME GENTRIFICATION IN SOME OF THE MORE DESIRABLE NEIGHBORHOODS WHICH HAVE BEAUTIFUL VICTORIAN HOMES WHICH ARE INCREDIBLY CHEAP COMPARED TO DOWN STATE.

THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT UPSTATE NEW YORK THAT'S SHOCKINGLY BEAUTIFUL IS AMAZING VICTORIAN HOMES.

FOR PEOPLE WHO MAY NOT BE AS FAMILIAR WITH WESTERN NEW YORK.

TELL US ABOUT POPULATION LOSS.

BUFFALO HAS LOST HALF ITS POPULATION FROM ITS PEAK IN 1950 WHEN IT WAS 580,000 NOW IT'S LIKE 260.

THAT IS SIMILAR TO WHAT YOU SEE IN A LOT OF RUST BELT CITIES, CLEVELAND, ST. LOUIS AND DETROIT MIGHT BE DOING A LITTLE BIT WORSE EVEN, BUT IT'S IN THAT BALTIMORE -- IT'S IN THAT CATEGORY.

SO THAT'S A VERY DIFFERENT STORY THAN SOME OF THE COASTAL CITIES LIKE NEW YORK OR BOSTON THAT LOST MAYBE AT MOST A QUARTER OR THIRD OF THEIR POPULATION AND HAVE BEEN SIGNIFICANTLY REGAINING IT IN THE LAST FEW DECADES.

BUFFALO IS JUST TURNING THE CORNER IN TERMS OF GETTING SOME -- THEY REALLY SUFFERED FROM SUBURBAN SPRAWL AND IT'S GETTING SOME YOUNGER PEOPLE RETURNING TO THE INNER CITY, MILLENNIAL POPULATION IS UP, BUT IT STILL HAS A SHRINKING LABOR FORCE FROM DECADES OF OUTMIGRATION.

SPEAKING OF RECOVERY ONE OF THE REASONS WHY BUFFALO IS SO BIG IN DISCUSSIONS AROUND NEW YORK STATE IS OF COURSE THE GOVERNOR'S BUFFALO BILLIONS.

ALL OF THIS MONEY WAS INVESTED INTO THIS CITY, INTO THIS REGION AND IS IT FAIR TO SAY WHEN CAN WE SAY THAT THE STATE HAS GOTTEN A PROPER RETURN ON THAT HUGE INVESTMENT?

SO THIS IS A BIG PROBLEM THAT I THINK THE STATE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO SOLVE THROUGH LEGISLATION.

THE STATE SPENDS A LOT OF MONEY ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND IT DOESN'T HAVE A GOOD MEANS OF TRACKING WHETHER THE MONEY PRODUCED THE DESIRED RESULT.

YOU CAN'T GO TO A TABLE AND LOOK IT UP THE WAY YOU CAN LABOR STATISTICS ON THE STATE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR WEBSITE.

SO IT'S HARD FOR EXPERTS -- I INTERVIEWED EXPERTS FROM ALL THE LEADING THINK TANKS AND RESEARCH ORGANIZATIONS HERE AND THEY SAID WE REALLY CAN'T SAY WITH CERTAINTY BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE THE DATA WE WOULD NEED TO ASSESS BOTH WHETHER -- NOT JUST WHETHER JOBS GREW BUT WHETHER IT WAS CAUSAL.

BUFFALO HAS HAD MODEST JOB GROWTH, IS THAT BECAUSE OF THE BUFFALO BILLION OR JUST BECAUSE THE NATIONAL ECONOMY IS RECOVERING AND CERTAIN CHEAPER REGIONS WITH ARCHITECTURE THAT'S BEAUTIFUL ARE ATTRACTING SOME GROWTH, YOU KNOW, HARD TO SAY.

WHAT ANECDOTALLY PEOPLE TEND TO THINK, EXPERTS TEND TO THINK IN MY REPORTING WAS CONSISTENT WITH THIS, IS THAT WHEN YOU -- YOU HAVE TO BREAK THE BUFFALO BILLION INTO DIFFERENT PROJECTS.

PROJECTS WHERE THEY HANDED OUT A BUNCH OF MONEY TO A CORPORATION LIKE, SAY, IBM TO PUT AN OFFICE IN DOWNTOWN BUFFALO WHERE THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE GOING TO GET REALLY HIGH-PAYING TECH JOBS, THEY'RE ACTUALLY CALL CENTER HELP JOBS SO TECH AS IN I.T.

SUPPORT, THEY ARE NOT PAYING AS MUCH, THEY'RE NOT NECESSARILY LIVING UP TO THE HOPES OR GETTING A VERY GOOD RETURN ON INVESTMENT BECAUSE YOU CAN MEASURE THE NUMBER OF JOBS AND THE MONEY INVESTED.

ALTHOUGH YOU STILL DON'T KNOW WOULD IBM WOULD HAVE GONE THERE WITHOUT THE SUBSIDY IN SOME CASES.

IN THIS CASE PROBABLY NOT BUT YOU DON'T ALWAYS KNOW, HOWEVER, SOME OF THE THINGS THE BUFFALO BILLION IS DOING IS MUCH MORE COST EFFECTIVE.

I WENT TO A STARTUP INCUBATOR WHERE THEY GIVE A MILLION DOLLAR STATE GRANT TO 5 TO 7 STARTUPS THAT CAN BE IN VIRTUALLY ANY INDUSTRY AND THEY APPLY FROM ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY, THIS HE MOVE TO BUFFALO, THEY HAVE A FEW EMPLOYEES, HOPEFULLY SOME OF THEM GROW, THIS HE CATCH ON, ATTRACT ADDITIONAL INVESTMENT.

THEY HAVE DRAMATICALLY INCREASED THE AMOUNT OF PRIVATE EQUITY INVESTMENT COMING INTO THE WESTERN NEW YORK REGION.

THE NUMBER OF JOBS PRODUCED, 422 TOTAL, NOT A HUGE NUMBER.

BUT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT MIGHT GENERATE -- THAT BUILDS THE CONDITIONS FOR POTENTIALLY REALLY STRONG LONG-TERM GROWTH, CREATES THE POTENTIAL FOR THE NEXT GOOGLE OR EVEN JUST THE NEXT LIKE NEW BALANCE SNEAKER COMPANY OR SOMETHING TO LOCATE IN BUFFALO AND THEN GROW.

SO DECADES FROM NOW WE MAY LOOK BACK AT THAT PROGRAM AND SAY THAT PLOG WAS ENORMOUSLY SUCCESSFUL.

SO THOSE ARE MORE THE KINDS OF PROGRAMS THAT SEEM TO BE GENERATING GOOD RETURN ON INVESTMENT OR AT LEAST THE POTENTIAL FOR IT.

SUBSIDIES TO SPECIFIC COMPANIES NOT AS MUCH.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, THAT SOUNDS LIKE THE KIND OF THINKING THAT PERHAPS NEEDS TO GO INTO GOVERNMENT MORE, LESS OF THE IMMEDIATE RETURN AND MORE OF THE LONG-TERM PLANNED.

LISTEN, BEN, I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR REPORTING.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR TAKING THE TRIP UP TO BUFFALO, BUT, YEAH, THAT DEFINITELY HELPS US ALL GET A BETTER SENSE OF WHERE ALL OF THIS STATE FUNDING IS GOING, ESPECIALLY FOR PARTS OF UPSTATE AND WESTERN NEW YORK.

SO THANK YOU.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

ABSOLUTELY.

> I'M MADDIE ORTON FOR 'METROFOCUS.'

DIVERSITY IN A NEWSROOM IS KEY TO ENSURING ALL STORIES ARE ON THE EDITORIAL RADAR AND TOLD ACCURATELY.

ORGANIZATIONS NIEK NLGGA WORK TO FILL GABS IN REPRESENTATION BY PROVIDING NEWS TEAMS WITH THE RESOURCES THIS HE NEED TO GET THE STORY RIGHT.

I CAUGHT UP WITH ANTHONY RAPP, JANE PAULY AND OTHER MEDIA LUMINARIES AT THE ORGANIZATION'S ANNUAL HEADLINES AND HEADLINERS GALA TO DISCUSS HOW THE ASSOCIATION HAS HELPED PAVE THE WAY FOR LGBTQ JOURNALISTS AND CONTINUES THE FIGHT FOR FAIR COVERAGE.

WHEN THE FIRST EVER -- RELEASED IN 1990 RESULTS SHOWED THAT NEWS ROOMS HELD A PALPABLE UNDERCURRENT OF BIAS AGAINST THE GAY AND LESBIAN COMMUNITY.

ONLY ONE OUTLET SURVEYED, THE VILLAGE VOICE, OFFERED BENEFITS TO DOMESTIC PARTNERS.

OAKLAND TRIBUNE EXECUTIVE EDITOR ROY AARON'S DELIVERED THESE FINDINGS AT THAT YEAR'S GENERAL MEETING FOR THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR NEWSPAPER EDITORS AND ENDED HIS SPEECH BY COMING OUT TO HIS COLLEAGUES.

THAT SAME YEAR AARONS FORMED NLGGA CALLED THE NATIONAL LEG BEAN AND GUY JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION.

CURRENT DIRECTOR ADAM POLLIS.

YOU WILL SEE VERY FEW PEOPLE THAT WERE OUT IN THE NEWS ROOMS IN THE '90s.

AGAIN, THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WHY ROY AARON'S AND OTHERS CAME TO GET AND SAID THERE IS THIS IMPORTANT NEED TO HAVE THE PEOPLE NOT ONLY IN THE NEWS ROOMS BUT COMFORTABLE IN THE NEWS ROOMS AND RESPECTED.

AT THE ORGANIZATION'S ANNUAL HEADLINES AND HEADLINERS GALA NEARLY 30 YEARS LATER IT'S CLEAR MUCH HAS CHANGED SINCE ROY AARONS ROCKED THE NEWS WORLD WITH HIS ANNOUNCEMENT.

THE EVENING WAS HOSTED BY CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT DAVID BEGNAU WHO CAME OUT LAST YEAR TWEETING A PHOTO OF HIMSELF WITH HIS PARTNER.

TO STAND IN FRONT OF YOU TONIGHT WITH THE SUPPORT OF MY COLLEAGUES AND QUITE FRANKLY THE CONFIDENCE TO DO IT IS A MOMENT THAT IS NOT LOST ON ME, BUT WE ARE LIVING IN A WORLD RIGHT NOW WHERE ALMOST DAILY THINGS ARE CHANGING AND ACCEPTANCE IS BECOMING MORE AND MORE OF A RECOGNIZABLE REALTY.

THERE'S STILL A LONG WAY TO GO IN THE FIGHT FOR EQUALITY, OBSTACLES REMAIN IN CULT VERGT DIVERSE NEWS ROOMS, MAKING SURE ALL GROUPS WITHIN THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY ARE HEARD AND EDUCATING REPORTERS ON HOW TO DISCUSS LGBTQ ISSUES.

THE ASSOCIATION IS THERE TO HELP.

WE HAVE A STYLE BOOK WE PRODUCED TO HELP JOURNALISTS KNOW WHICH TERMS AT LEAST TODAY ARE THE BEST TO USE.

LANGUAGE IS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING AND AS AN ORGANIZATION OF JOURNALISTS WE USUALLY WORK BEHIND THE SEQUENCE TO PEER TO PEER JOURNALIST TO JOURNALIST TO SAY ACTUALLY THIS IS A BETTER WAY TO COVER THE TOPIC.

ONE WAY TO STAY ABREAST OF CONCERNS WITHIN VARIOUS COMMUNITIES IS TO MAKE SURE DIVERSITY IS REPRESENTED ON A NEWSROOM'S STAFF AND LGJA WORKS TO MENTOR EARLY CAREER LGBTQ JOURNALISTS AND CONNECT THEM WITH OPPORTUNITIES.

PRESIDENT OF CBS NEWS SUSAN ZIRINSKY AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF CBS SUNDAY MORNING RAND MORRISON.

IF YOU ARE IN A NEWSROOM THAT HAS A SINGLE POINT OF VIEW OR ONLY THE PERSPECTIVE OF A SINGLE SEGMENT OF THE POPULATION YOUR REPORTING WILL REFLECT THAT.

YOU HAVE TO WALK A MILE IN EVERYONE'S SHOES AND THE WAY YOU DO THAT IS HAVE A DIVERSE NEWSROOM AND A DIVERSE ARRAY OF PEOPLE WHO ARE LOOKING AT THE WORLD FROM ALL KINDS OF PERSPECTIVES.

LGJA BOARD PRESIDENT SHARIF DURHAMS.

THE MOST DISTURBING THING IS WHEN PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND OUR STORIES OR AREN'T AWARE THAT WE ARE IN THE COMMUNITY AND WHAT WE'RE DOING.

IT'S PARTICULARLY TRUE WE'VE NOTICED IN THE PAST FEW YEARS ABOUT TRANSGENDER ISSUES.

WE DON'T KNOW THE STORIES IN OUR COMMUNITIES OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BEING CHALLENGED THROUGH DISCRIMINATION.

DON ENNIS SAYS SHE BECAME THE FIRST OPENLY TRANS PERSON IN A NETWORK TV NEWSROOM IN 2013.

SHE BELIEVES RESOURCES LIKE NLGJA AND ITS PEER ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATIONS OF PLAQUE OR HISPANIC JOURNALISTS MEAN MEMBERS OF MINORITY GROUPS DON'T HAVE TO SERVE AS THE AUTHORITY ON A GIVEN CULTURE IN THE WORKPLACE.

MAYBE IT'S NOT ALWAYS FAIR.

IF YOU HAVE THE ONLY WOMAN IN A NEWSROOM OR THE ONLY GAY PERSON IN THE NEWSROOM OR THE ONLY BLACK PERSON IN YOUR NEWSROOM, WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE TO BE THE EXPERT THAT TELLS EVERYBODY THAT'S RIGHT OR WRONG.

NLGJA IS THERE FOR THOSE PEOPLE TO SAY LET'S CALL THE EXPERTS.

THE NUMBER OF HIGH PROFILE OPENLY LGBTQ JOURNALISTS HAS GROWN EXPONENTIALLY SINCE NLGJA FOUNDER ROY AARONS CAME OUT NEARLY 30 YEARS AGO, BUT THE VISIBILITY OF OUT NEWS PEOPLE REMAINS VALUABLE.

ANYTIME THAT PEOPLE ARE OUT AND VISIBLE IT CHALLENGES PEOPLE WHO MIGHT HAVE STIGMA AROUND THAT OR ISSUES WITH THAT TO HAVE TO RECKON WITH THEIR ISSUES BECAUSE I THINK IT'S MUCH HARDER TO MAINTAIN BIAS OR PREJUDICE TOWARDS SOMEONE WHO IS DEMONSTRATING THEMSELVES TO BE A FULLY ROUNDED HUMAN BEING.

FOR ME AS A SEASONED -- MORE SEASONED PERSON WHO REMEMBERS A TIME WHEN THIS PARTY WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED, PEOPLE WERE STILL TALENTED AND -- BUT THEY WEREN'T FREE TO BE PART OF THE CREATIVE CONVERSATION AND THEY ARE NOW, GOD BLESS.

MUCH OF THAT FREEDOM IS THANKS TO THE EFFORTS OF NLGJA AND DURHAMS SAYS THE ASSOCIATION WILL CONTINUE TO EVOLVE WITH THE NEEDS OF THE TIMES.

WE AS AN ORGANIZATION HAVE A LOT TO LEARN.

OUR JOB IS TO ALSO GATHER RESOURCES, LEARN FROM DIFFERENT MEMBERS, ENCOURAGE OTHER PEOPLE TO JOIN AND, THEREFORE, BE A BETTER RESOURCE FOR THE NEWS.

I'M MADDIE ORTON FOR 'METROFOCUS.'

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> STYLE MAVEN IRIS APFEL WITH HER SIGNATURE OVERSIZED GLASSES AN ORIGINAL ACCESSORIZED LOOKS IS THE SUBJECT OF THE DOCUMENTARY IRIS DIRECTED BY ALBERT MAYSELS.

BEST KNOWN FOR HIS CLASSIC DOCUMENTARIES GIVE ME SHELTER AND GRAY GARDENS, MAYSELS' LAST FILM SHOWCASES THIS FEISTY FASHION ICON'S DESIGNS AND INNOVATIONS.

LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

I DON'T HAVE ANY RULES BECAUSE I WOULD ONLY BE BREAKING THEM SO IT'S A WASTE OF TIME.

IRIS IS AN ARTIST.

WITH WHAT SHE USES HER CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES TO DO IS COMPOSE A NEW VISION.

SHE HAS THE MOST REMARKABLE COLLECTION OF COUTURE COSTUME JEWELRY IN THE UNITED STATES.

I LIKE TO IMPROVISE.

IT'S LIKE PLAYING JAZZ.

I WAS PROBABLY THE FIRST WOMAN TO WEAR JEANS.

SOUNDS CRAZY.

I WAS.

I CAN FEEL THE PULSE OF HER EXCITEMENT ABOUT LIVING.

MRS. LOW MAN THE ORIGINAL SAID YOU ARE NOT PRETTY AND YOU WILL NEVER BE PRETTY BUT IT DOESN'T MATTER, YOU HAVE SOMETHING MUCH BETTER, YOU HAVE STYLE.

REBECCA MAYSELS THE PRODUCER OF IRIS AND THE DAUGHTER OF THE LATE DIRECTOR ALBERT MAYSELS JOINS ME NOW.

SO IRIS HAS THIS INCREDIBLY UNIQUE AS WE JUST SAW VERY ECLECTIC LOOK TO HER.

HOW DID YOUR FATHER BECOME INVOLVED WITH MAKING A DOCUMENTARY ABOUT HER?

SO ABOUT A FEW YEARS AGO A FRIEND OF OURS ONE OF OUR OTHER PRODUCERS KIND OF COLD CALLED MAYSELS FILMS AND SAID THERE IS THIS AMAZING WOMAN I THINK YOU SHOULD MAKE A FILM AND LAURA COXEN SAID LET'S MEET.

THEY HAD A MEETING, IT WAS IRIS AND JENNIFER AND LAURA AND AL AND THEY JUST REALLY GOT ALONG.

THEY JUST HIT IT OFF LIKE IMMEDIATELY.

SHE CAME TO OUR OFFICES IN HARLEM AND WE HAVE A WALK UP AND AT THE TIME I THINK AL WAS IN HIS 80s AND SHE CAME UP AND THEY JUST ALL GOT ALONG REALLY WELL.

THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME THAT THEY MET AND THEY JUST KNEW THAT FROM THAT POINT ON THEY JUST DECIDED, YOU KNOW, LET'S MAKE A FILM ABOUT HER AND LET'S SEE WHAT HAPPENS.

THERE WAS NO PLANNING BECAUSE WE DON'T REALLY MAKE FILMS LIKE THAT, BUT AL WAS LIKE SHE'S AMAZING.

SHE WAS JUST THAT MUCH OF AN INTRIGUING CHARACTER.

SHE'S INTERESTING, SHE WORKS REALLY HARD, SHE'S REALLY KIND OF COLORFUL AND I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS THAT AL WAS REALLY INTERESTED IN WAS HER WORK DRIVE.

SO THAT REALLY KIND OF KEPT HIM INTRIGUED BY HER.

THEY STARTED FILMING AND FILMED FOR A FEW YEARS AND THEN I CAME ON TO THE SECOND HALF OF IT AND KIND OF HELPED PUSH IT ALONG AND FINISH IT.

WHEN YOU CAME INTO THE SECOND HALF WHAT WAS IT LIKE JUST BEING AROUND HER?

WE ALL KNOW HER LOOK, BUT WHAT WAS SHE LIKE AS A PERSON?

I MEAN, SHE IS VERY CLEAR ABOUT WHAT SHE WANTS, SHE'S CREATIVE, SHE'S A LOT OF FUN, SHE'S REALLY CONSIDERATE.

WE HAD A REALLY SMALL CREW OF PEOPLE SO ALL THE SHOOTS KIND OF FELT LIKE THIS KIND OF ALMOST LIKE SMALL LIKE FAMILY GATHERING, YOU KNOW, IT WAS USUALLY, YOU KNOW, LAURA AND AL OR ME AND AL AND LIKE ANOTHER CAMERA AND IT WAS VERY A KIND OF SMALL GROUP OF PEOPLE.

THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT THAT THAT I THINK MADE HER COMFORTABLE AND SHE WAS ALSO JUST VERY OPEN AND INVITING AND KIND OF WAS HAPPY TO HAVE PEOPLE IN HER HOUSE.

IS THERE SOMETHING -- I MEAN, IT SEEMS KIND OF OBVIOUS BEING THAT YOU KNOW NEW YORK BEING THE MULTI-ETHNIC CITY THAT IT IS AND HER LOOK BEING SO ECLECTIC, BUT WAS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT HER SENSE OF STYLE THAT WAS UNIQUELY NEW YORK?

WELL, I THINK -- I DON'T KNOW IF IT'S SENSE OF STYLE, BUT JUST I THINK THAT ONE OF THE STEREOTYPES ABOUT NEW YORKERS IS THAT THEY HAVE THIS MAJOR DRIVE AND THEY JUST DECIDED THEY'RE GOING TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE SOMETHING WORK AND TO ME I THINK THAT THAT'S WHAT MAKES HER A NEW YORKER IN THAT WAY.

THAT SHE JUST KIND OF, YOU KNOW, WOULD MAKE -- I DON'T KNOW, SHE HAD A REALLY AMAZING CAREER AND SO SHE WORKED REALLY HARD AND I THINK OF THAT AS LIKE A NEW YORKER, BUT ALSO SHE HAD THIS KIND OF CREATIVITY TO PUT ALL THESE THINGS TOGETHER AND ALSO MAKE IT WORK.

I DON'T KNOW IF THAT --

WELL, NO, IT KIND OF DOES.

I MEAN, YEAH, SHE WOULD FIGURE OUT -- SHE WAS INNOVATIVE IN THAT WAY.

SHE WOULD FIGURE OUT THAT THERE WERE DICE AND SHE LIKED THE WAY THAT THE DICE LOOKED AND SHE WOULD GET SOMEONE TO DRILL A HOLE IN IT AND MAKE IT INTO A BRACELET.

I FEEL LIKE THAT HAD A KIND OF --

SHE SAW FASHION IN EVERY DAY THINGS.

SHE'S LOW BROW, HIGH BROW, EVERYWHERE IN BETWEEN.

SHE WOULD GET JUST AS EXCITED ABOUT, I DON'T KNOW, LIKE LOUIS VUITTON AS SHE WOULD ABOUT MICKEY MOUSE.

I THINK THAT'S WHAT'S REALLY WONDERFUL.

IT'S PROBABLY WHAT MAKES HER SO ENDEARING.

YES.

A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR FATHER.

HOW DOES THIS FILM FIT IN WITH THE REST OF HIS BODY OF WORK.

HE WAS ALWAYS INTERESTED IN PORTRAIT FILMS, INTERESTED IN MEETING SOMEONE AND LEARNING ABOUT THEM AND LEARNING ABOUT SOMEONE JUST BY BEING IN THEIR PRESENCE.

SO I THINK IN THE TRADITION OF FILMS, YOU KNOW, LIKE GRAY GARDENS OR A LOT OF OTHER FILMS THAT HE MADE, YOU DECIDE TO BE THERE AT THAT MOMENT AND ABSORB WHAT'S GOING ON AROUND YOU AND LEARN MORE.

SO I THINK IT CONTINUES.

REALLY QUICKLY -- SEEN IRIS ONCE THEY DO?

I THINK THAT YOU GET TO KNOW SOMEONE WHO HAS THIS KIND OF FACADE THAT IS KIND OF A THICK FACADE OF FABRIC AND JEWELRY AND ALL THESE THINGS AND THEN THERE'S SOMETHING THAT'S REALLY HUMAN AND GENUINE AND DRIVEN AND HARD WORKING BEHIND HER.

I THINK THAT THAT IS ALSO THE WAY THAT MY FATHER USED TO WORK.

MY FATHER -- NOT THAT HE HAD A LOT OF, YOU KNOW, CLOTHING AND STUFF LIKE THAT, BUT HE WAS REALLY INTERESTED AND REALLY HARD WORKING AND REALLY INTERESTED IN PEOPLE AND BEING AROUND PEOPLE AND I THINK THAT THEY BOTH KIND OF SHARED THAT.

SO FOR ME IN SOME WAYS, YOU KNOW, KNOWING THAT WE WORKED ON IT TOGETHER, TO SEE HIM IN THAT IS ALSO REALLY BEAUTIFUL.

I THINK IT'S A BEAUTIFUL PORTRAIT OF A REALLY STRONG HARD WORKING WOMAN WHO IS IN HER 90s AND STILL WORKING JUST AS HARD AS SHE DID IN HER 60s OR 50s OR 40s, AND THAT'S, I THINK, VERY INSPIRATIONAL.

♪♪♪

> 50 YEARS AGO AT THE HEIGHT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT FORMER NEW YORK CITY BALLET DANCER ARTHUR MITCHELL THE FIRST BLACK DANCER TO BE ELEVATED TO PRINCIPAL CREATED ALONG WITH KAREL SHOOK THE DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM.

MITCHELL WAS INSPIRED TO START A SCHOOL THAT WOULD OFFER CHILDREN IN HARLEM, THE COMMUNITY IN WHICH HE WAS BORN, THE OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN ABOUT DANCE AND THE ARTS AND HE BEGAN BY INITIALLY PRACTICING THEIR ROUTINES IN A THAT ARE WILL EM GARAGE.

THROUGH PERFORMANCES, COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND ARTS EDUCATION THE COMPANY CARRIES FORWARD ITS MESSAGE OF EMPOWERMENT THROUGH THE ARTS FOR ALL.

HERE IS A LOOK.

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FOLLOWING ARTHUR MITCHELL'S SUDDEN PASSING LAST FALL THE DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM WILL DEDICATE THEIR 50th ANNIVERSARY SEASON TO MITCHELL'S LIFE AND LEGACY.

JOINING ME NOW IS ARTISTIC DIRECTOR VIRGINIA JOHNSON WHO RETURNS TO THE COMPANY AFTER HAVING BEEN A FOUNDING MEMBER AND PRINCIPAL DANCER.

VIRGINIA, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

IT'S WONDERFUL TO BE HERE.

IT'S A PROGRAM I WATCH ALL THE TIME.

WE LOVE TO HEAR THAT.

YOU WERE THERE ON THE GROUND FLOOR, WHAT WAS THAT LIKE WHEN YOU FIRST JOINED?

SO I ACTUALLY WENT UP TO HARLEM TO TAKE BALLET CLASSES BECAUSE I HEARD THAT ARTHUR MITCHELL WAS TEACHING BALLET ON SATURDAYS AND I WENT UP THERE IN THE FALL OF 1968 AND FOUND OUT HE'S STARTING A COMPANY.

SO I BECAME PART OF DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM IN 1969 AND THERE WERE FOUR OTHER DANCERS ALL OF US HAD BEEN TOLD YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO BE A BALLERINA, YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO BE IN BALLET BECAUSE OF THE COLOR OF YOUR SKIN.

ARTHUR MITCHELL THIS CREATED THIS OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO DO THE THING THAT WE HAD PREPARED OUR LIVES TO DO AND HAD DREAMED OF DOING ALL THE TIME.

WHAT WAS IT LIKE, OF COURSE, WORKING WITH HIM?

WE HAD TO SHOW THE WORLD THAT WE COULD DO THIS AND NOTHING WAS EVER GOOD ENOUGH BECAUSE WE HAD TO BE BETTER THAN BETTER.

WE HAD TO BE THE BEST DANCERS EVER.

HE REALLY CHALLENGED US EVERY MINUTE TO STEP UP TO THAT COMMAND BECAUSE ARTHUR MITCHELL WORKED WITH GEORGE BALANCHINE AT NEW YORK CITY BALLET.

BALANCHINE WAS SORT OF OUR GODFATHER AND GAVE US MANY OF HIS GREAT BALL LACE, WE DID THE FIRST WORK THAT WE DID OF MR.

BALANCHINE'S, WHICH IS A CLEAN AND NEO CLASSICAL WORK, WHITE LEOTARDS AND WHITE SKIRTS AND STRAIGHT LINES AND DOING THESE PRECISE MOVEMENTS AND TO DO IT IN THOSE EARLY DAYS AS DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM WAS TO MAKE A STATEMENT ABOUT WHAT WAS POSSIBLE IF WE WERE INCLUDED.

IT WAS A GREAT BURDEN TO BEAR, IT WAS A GREAT JOY.

BECAUSE AT THE END, EVERY TIME THE AUDIENCE WOULD LEAP TO THEIR FEET CHEERING BECAUSE SOMETHING HAD HAPPENED TO THEM BY SEEING DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM.

SOMETHING THEY DIDN'T KNOW WAS POSSIBLE.

I'M WONDERING HOW WAS THE THEATER WORKING WITH OUTREACH NOW WITH YOUNG PEOPLE.

IT'S BEEN AN IMPORTANT PART OF DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM FROM THE BEGINNING.

WITH ERR A SCHOOL, PERFORMING COMPANY, BUT ALSO ABOUT THIS THING THAT USED TO BE CALLED ARTS EXPOSURE.

REALLY CONNECTING YOUNG PEOPLE, REALLY CONNECTING AUDIENCES AROUND THE COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD TO THE EXPERIENCE OF ART.

SO WE HAVE A LOT OF ACTIVITIES THAT DO THAT, WE DO WORKSHOPS, WE DO MASTER CLASSES, WE DO A LECTURE DEMONSTRATION IN CITIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE, WE INVITE THEM IN, WHERE THEY GET TO WATCH US DO A LITTLE BIT OF CLASS, SOMEBODY IS NARRATING IT SO THEY SEE THE WORK THAT GOES INTO IT TO UNDERSTAND THAT BALLET IS A LANGUAGE, SO THEY UNDERSTAND SOME OF THE VOCABULARY, OUR MOVEMENTS, THEN WE PUT IT ALL TOGETHER IN DANCES.

SO IT'S KIND OF AN INTRODUCTION TO WHAT IS IT IS TO BE A DANCER AND TO WHAT THE ART FORM DOES.

THIS ART FORM BELONGS TO EVERYONE.

THERE IS KIND OF A MYTH OUT THERE THAT YOU HAVE TO BE BORN A BALLERINA.

YOUR SPIRIT HAS TO BE THERE FROM THE START, BUT THE TRANSFORMATION THAT HAPPENS TO A BODY WHEN YOU STUDY BALLET CORRECTLY IS AMAZING.

THAT'S SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED WITH DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM OVER ITS 50 YEARS AND CAN HAPPEN TO MORE AND MORE YOUNG PEOPLE IF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE RUNNING COMPANIES IF YOU HAVE THE TEACHERS WHO ARE READY TO WORK WITH THE BODY AND TURN IT INTO A BALLET BODY.

IF YOU HAVE FLAT FEET IT'S GOING TO BE REALLY HARD TO BE ON POINTE.

FLAT FEET COME IN ALL COLORS.

IF YOU HAVE THE FACILITY, IF YOU HAVE THE ABILITY TO TRAIN THE BODY TOWARDS BALLET TYPE, THEN YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO BECOME THAT BALLERINA.

THAT LEADS ME INTO MY NEXT POINT, THE DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM IS FOR ALL COLORS AS WELL, IT'S A MULTI-RACIAL, MULTI-ETHNIC DANCE COMPANY, CORRECT?

ABSOLUTELY.

ARTHUR MITCHELL WAS NOT TRYING TO CREATE A BLACKBALL LAY COMPANY IN OPPOSITION TO THE WHITE BALLET COMPANIES, HE WAS TRYING TO SAY THAT THIS ART FORM BELONGS TO ALL OF US, IT'S AN ART FORM THAT SHOULD BE INCLUSIVE.

HE WANTED PEOPLE TO SEE BALLET IN A DIFFERENT WAY.

I THINK WHAT AFRICAN-AMERICANS, PEOPLE OF COLOR, BRING TO THE ART FORM IS OF TREMENDOUS VALUE.

THERE'S ANOTHER KIND OF UNDERSTANDING ABOUT WHAT THE EXPRESSION OF BALLET CAN BE IF IT'S A MULTI-ETHNIC EXPRESSION OF CULTURE.

VIRGINIA, I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US ON 'METROFOCUS' AND TAKING US THROUGH SOME OF THE HISTORY OF THE DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM AND OF COURSE TALKING ABOUT WHAT IT IS THAT THE DANCE THEATER OFFERS TO YOUNG PEOPLE NOW.

THAT'S MY PLEASURE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

♪♪♪ ♪♪♪

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRYL TISCH, SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSLYN P. WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG AND BY -- ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪

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