Letters: Richard Roundtree earned icon status

Published 10/29/2023 5:30 a.m. EDT

NEW YORK - 1971:  Actor Richard Roundtree performs in scene from "Shaft" directed by Gordon Parks.  Academy Award Winner for Best Song "Theme From Shaft" by Isaac Hayes. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Richard Roundtree was an artistic icon. His emergence in the title role in the movie “Shaft” partly stemmed from the impact of the Black Power movement. While not overtly political himself, he was greatly admired throughout the Black community and by his peers as a trailblazer in Hollywood.

Roundtree was certainly a gentleman of my parents’ generation. He will be forever remembered as John Shaft. As Isaac Hayes sang in the movie’s Academy Award-winning theme, “Can you dig it?” “Right on!”

I was a youngster when my parents took me to a crowded cinema during that movie’s opening weekend. Its theme music was a popular showtune among many school bands.

Roundtree has not been granted the recognition due him, such as enshrinement on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But his career in movies made him a standout.

I appreciated reading Mark Allan Williams’ “Commentary: Baltimore saw ‘Shaft’ before almost anyplace else” in The Baltimore Banner. The Banner is an astute online news publication. It is an important commodity for the community.

Wayne E. Williams, Camden, New Jersey

The Baltimore Banner welcomes opinion pieces and letters to the editor. Please send submissions to communityvoices@thebaltimorebanner.com or letters@thebaltimorebanner.com.

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