08-16-2018  11:05 am      •     
McMenamins
Kam Williams Special to The Skanner News
Published: 20 January 2012

Cuba Gooding, Jr. was born in the Bronx, New York on Jan. 2, 1968, to Shirley and Cuba, Sr., the lead singer of the R&B group The Main Ingredient. But after his deadbeat dad abandoned the family in 1974, Jr. and his siblings were raised in L.A. by his struggling single-mom. He ended up attending four different high schools, but was still popular enough to be voted class president at three of them.

Cuba's showbiz career began in 1984 as a breakdancer during the closing ceremonies of the Summer Olympics. He subsequently landed several bit roles on TV and in movies before enjoying a meteoric rise after his spellbinding performance as Tre in Boyz n the Hood.

In 1997, he won an Academy Award for his memorable outing as Rod "Show me the money!" Tidwell in 'Jerry Maguire,' and was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the World by People Magazine the same year. He has also earned two NAACP Image Awards (for 'Radio' and 'Gifted Hands'), a Screen Actors Guild Award (for 'Jerry Maguire'), and he even has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

A born-again Christian since the age of 13, Cuba married his childhood sweetheart, Sara Kapfer, whom he started dating in high school. They have three kids, Spencer, Mason and Piper. Here, he talks about his latest outing as Major Emanuelle Stance in 'Red Tails,' a World War II epoch about the legendary Tuskegee Airmen.

 

Kam Williams: Hi Cuba, thanks for the interview.

CG: Anytime, brother, how are you?

 

KW:Just fine. How're things with you?

CG: I'm good. It's easy when you're talking about a movie you're passionate about.

 

KW:What made you so passionate about Red Tails?

CG: Well, I had first heard this story of the Tuskegee Airmen back in 1992 when I did that HBO movie. At the time, I was a young man just finishing his education, and it frustrated me that I hadn't learned anything about these African-American pilots who had escorted bombers during World War II. It was one of those things where I was going, "What the hell! Why didn't I already know this?" So, to tackle that subject-matter for HBO was monumental in my life. Of course, I moved on in my career and did other things, but when I heard that George Lucas was going to make a blockbuster about the Tuskegee Airmen, I was all over it. How often do we in Hollywood get an opportunity to tell a black tale on a scale like this, an action adventure? I knew it was going to be visually stunning, so, I told him, "Hey, I have to be involved even just to coach the actors or if l have to do Kraft Services." When I met with [director] Anthony Hemingway, we just connected. It was the longest dinner, with tears and everything. He recognized that the passion I had to be a part of the movie was the same passion that these men had to do their part for their country. George even called and asked me to narrate his new documentary for the History Channel called "Double Victory" which chronicles both the Tuskegee Airmen's triumphs in the skies over Europe and the racism they had to deal with back in the States. So, it's been a fun ride, and I've been blessed to be involved in something that not only I'm passionate about but so is the man financing it.     

 

KW: Larry Greenberg points out that you've played pilots and military men before, both real-life heroes like Carl Brashear in Men of Honor and Dorie Miller in Pearl Harbor, and also fictional characters in A Few Good Men, Judgement, Outbreak and other movies. He asks: Is this something you have a passion for?

CG: I guess so. I used to say, "No, no, I just got lucky being cast." But the older I get, the more I ask myself, "Cube, what's your deal here?" Truthfully, I think it's playing real-life people that I'm attracted to. And the majority of them have been military men. But there's also James Robert "Radio" Kennedy and some other guys I've played who are real-life people. I think there's something about the heightened responsibility to tell the truth that attracts me to these roles, especially when you can have them on the set to help you do your job. And now that I have two sons who are 15 and 17 who love watching movies, you can count me in whenever I have an opportunity to do a movie that gives a history lesson about our contributions, especially to the military. I'm in! I'm involved!

 

KW: Editor/legist Patricia Turnier asks: How would you describe your character, Major Emanuelle Stance?

CG: Major Emanuelle Stance is the patriarch on the base. He's like the football coach. He's the person that gives the men their encouragement before they go back out onto the field.  

 

KW:Teresa Emerson asks: What was it like to meet the surviving Tuskegee Airmen? Did they help you prepare for your role as Major Stance?

CG: Every day, literally! They helped me to prepare to be a man. And not only were they on the set every day, but one or two have attended each of the screenings on the junket from Dallas to Miami. And they're in their 90s! It's been a magical and emotional experience for me every, single time. So, it's been great! [Chuckles]

 

KW:Attorney Bernadette Beekman says: You've played a lot of heroes. Who is your own personal hero?

CG: My mom, to do what she's done to hold the family together. She raised me, my brother, Omar, and my sister, with all of us being homeless and having to live in the back of a car for a period of time. So, yeah, my mom's my hero. If I had to pick one from the screen, it might be U.S. Navy Master Chief Carl Brashear.

 

KW:Film student Jamaal Green asks: Cuba, is there any material or genre out there that you have not yet covered in your career that you would like to try?

CG: Absolutely! I just heard about this magician named Black Herman who was a contemporary of Houdini back in the early 20th Century. Also, I'm an avid hockey fan and I've been playing for about 17 years, and somebody recently told me that the first organized hockey teams in Canada were all black. Telling those stories would be cool.

 

KW:Harriet Pakula Teweles asks: How do you expect the picture to contribute to the public's rethinking of the historic role of the Tuskegee airmen?

CG: I hope the picture makes an impact, and I know George Lucas is doing everything he can to make sure that happens. And then there's the documentary Double Victory I mentioned which is serving as a tangent to the movie. That will be more of a history lesson than Red Tails which is an action adventure tale on the scale of Avatar, with 16,000 special effects. It's something that I think people are going to be really impressed with, visually.

 

KW:Harriet also asks: What did you learn about yourself doing your role in Red Tails?

CG: I learned that not only am I a descendant of slaves, but that I am also a descendant of royalty, that there are politicians from the 1800s as well as Tuskegee Airmen in my lineage.  

 

KW: Rudy Lewis asks: How inspirational can Red Tails be to those who who are not being educated in the skills necessary to compete nationally and globally with young men of their generation? Will Red Tails be relevant to those 50 percent of young black men who drop out of high school yearly?

CG: I hope so. If some youngsters are inspired to go back and complete their education based on the achievements of these warriors, that would be God's gift.

 

KW: Patricia Turnier also says: One of my favorite roles you played in your career is Dr.  Ben Carson. What did it mean to you to represent this great physician who became the first African-American medical doctor in history to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom?

CG: [Shouts] You see! I forgot about that one while we were just focusing on military men. It's my passion to play all these types of characters that help educate how great it is to be not just African-American, but American. 

 

KW: The Columbus Short question: Are you happy?

CG: Yes, sir. Every day.

 

KW: The Tasha Smith question: Are you ever afraid?

CG: Yes, from time to time, but God has blessed me with the ability to be more happy than fearful.

 

KW: When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

CG: Accomplishment. I'm 44. I made it. [Laughs] 

 

KW:The Ling-Ju Yen question: What is your earliest childhood memory?

CG: Watching it snow in the Bronx.

 

KW: If you could have one wish instantly granted, what would that be for?

CG: Longevity.

 

KW:What is your favorite dish to cook?

CG: Top Ramen. [Laughs]

 

KW: The Sanaa Lathan question: What excites you?

CG: Adrenaline.

 

KW: Thanks again for the time, Cuba, and best of luck with both Red Tails and Double Victory.

CG: Nice talking with you, Kam.

 

See a trailer for 'Red Tails'

See a trailer for 'Double Victory'

Recently Published by The Skanner News

  • Default
  • Title
  • Date
  • Random
  • Newspapers from Maine to Hawaii pushed back against President Donald Trump's attacks on "fake news"Newspapers from Maine to Hawaii pushed back against President Donald Trump's attacks on "fake news" Thursday with a coordinated series of editorials speaking up for a free and vigorous press.The Boston Globe, which set the campaign in motion by urging the unified voice, had estimated that some 350 newspapers would participate.They did across the breadth of the country.The Portland (Maine) Press-Herald said a free and independent press is the best defense against tyranny, while the Honolulu Star-Advertiser emphasized democracy's need for a free press."The true enemies of the people — and democracy — are those who try to suffocate truth by vilifying and demonizing the messenger," wrote the Des Moines Register in Iowa.In St. Louis, the Post-Dispatch called journalists "the truest of patriots." The Chicago Sun-Times said it believed most Americans know that Trump is talking nonsense.The Fayetteville Observer said it hoped Trump would stop, "but we're not holding our breath.""Rather, we hope all the president's supporters will recognize what he's doing —  manipulating reality to get what he wants," the North Carolina newspaper said.On Thursday morning, Trump again took to Twitter to denounce "fake news."He wrote: "The Boston Globe, which was sold to the the Failing New York Times for 1.3 BILLION DOLLARS (plus 800 million dollars in losses & investment), or 2.1 BILLION DOLLARS, was then sold by the Times for 1 DOLLAR. Now the Globe is in COLLUSION with other papers on free press. PROVE IT!"THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country....BUT WE ARE WINNING!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018  That followed this tweet from the president: "THE FAKE NEWS MEDIA IS THE OPPOSITION PARTY. It is very bad for our Great Country....BUT WE ARE WINNING!"The Morning News of Savannah, Georgia, said it was a confidant, not an enemy, to the people."Like any true friend, we don't always tell you want you want to hear," the Morning News said. "Our news team presents the happenings and issues in this community through the lens of objectivity. And like any true friend, we refuse to mislead you. Our reporters and editors strive for fairness."Some newspapers used history lessons to state their case. The Elizabethtown Advocate in Pennsylvania, for instance, compared free press in the United States to such rights promised but not delivered in the former Soviet Union.The New York Times added a pitch."If you haven't already, please subscribe to your local papers," said the Times, whose opinion section also summarized other editorials across the country."Praise them when you think they've done a good job and criticize them when you think they could do better. We're all in this together."That last sentiment made some journalists skittish. Some newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal and the San Francisco Chronicle, wrote editorials explaining why they weren't joining the Globe's effort. The Chronicle wrote that one of its most important values is independence, and going along with the crowd went against that. Both the Chronicle and Baltimore Sun said that it plays into the hands of Trump and his supporters who think the media is out to get him.Nolan Finley, columnist and editorial page editor of The Detroit News, spoke up for the press but added a scolding. He said too many journalists are slipping opinion into their news reports, adding commentary and calling it context."Donald Trump is not responsible for the eroding trust in the media," Finley wrote. "He lacks the credibility to pull that off. The damage to our standing is self-inflicted."The Radio Television Digital News Association, which represents more than 1,200 broadcasters and web sites, is also asking its members to point out that journalists are friends and neighbors doing important work holding government accountable."I want to make sure that it is positive," said Dan Shelley, the group's executive director. "We're shooting ourselves in the foot if we make this about attacking the president or attacking his supporters."It remains unclear how much sway the effort will have. Newspaper editorial boards overwhelmingly opposed Trump's election in 2016. Polls show Republicans have grown more negative toward the news media in recent years: Pew Research Center said 85 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said in June 2017 that the news media has a negative effect on the country, up from 68 percent in 2010.
    Read More
  • The world mourns the death of Aretha Franklin who died today at 9:50 a.m. at her home in Detroit.
    Read More
  • Omarosa viewed as "two-bit opportunist" for calling Trump a racist only after aligning herself with him 
    Read More
  • Seven ships filled with 176,000 tons of wheat have left Portland for Yemen
    Read More
  • It was a rare admission of fault for an administration that frequently skews data and overstates economic gains.
    Read More
  • PP&R activities scheduled outdoors are being moved indoors where feasible
    Read More
  • Trump tweeted a barrage of insults Tuesday morning as Manigault Newman continued promoting her White House tell-all
    Read More
  • Aretha Frankin, considered one of the greatest singers of all time, has fallen ill
    Read More
Port of Seattle Tours
Calendar

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events

Montavilla Jazzfest 2018
The Skanner Report