By: Anita Gates

Louis Gossett Jr., who took home an Academy Award for “An Officer and a Gentleman” and an Emmy for “Roots,” both times playing a mature man who guides a younger one taking on a new role — but in drastically different circumstances — died early Friday in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 87. Mr. Gossett’s fi rst cousin Neal L. Gossett confirmed the death. He did not specify a cause. Mr. Gossett was 46 when he played Emil Foley, the Marine drill instructor from hell who ultimately shapes the humanity of an emotionally damaged young Naval aviation recruit (Richard Gere) in “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982). Reviewing the movie in The New York Times, Vincent Canby described Sergeant Foley as a cruel taskmaster “recycled as a man of recognizable cunning, dedication and humor” revealed in “the kind of performance that wins awards.”


When he accepted the Oscar for best supporting actor in 1983, he was the first Black performer to win in that category — and only the third (after Hattie McDaniel and Sidney Poitier) to win an Academy Award for acting. Mr. Gossett, a versatile actor, played a range of parts in his long career. But he was best known for playing decent, plain-spoken men, often authority figures. By the time he won his Oscar, he had already won an Emmy as Fiddler, the mentor of the lead character, Kunta Kinte (LeVar Burton), in the blockbuster 1977 mini-series “Roots.”


Fiddler was, as the name suggested, a musician, an enslaved man on an 18th-century Virginia plantation. Mr. Gossett was not thrilled about the role at first. “Why choose me to play the Uncle Tom?” he remembered thinking in a 2018 Television Academy video interview. But he came to admire the survival skills of forebears like Fiddler, he said, and based the character on his grandparents and a great-grandmother. Louis Cameron Gossett Jr. was born on May 27, 1936, in Brooklyn, the only child of Louis Gossett, a porter, and Helen (Wray) Gossett, a nurse. He made his Broadway debut when he was 17 and still a student at Abraham Lincoln High School on Ocean Parkway.


While healing after a basketball injury, he appeared in a school play, just to occupy his time. Impressed, a teacher suggested that he audition for “Take a Giant Step,” a play by Louis Peterson that was opening at the Lyceum Theater in the fall of 1953. He won the lead role, that of Spencer Scott, a troubled adolescent. Brooks Atkinson of The Times praised his “admirable and winning performance,” one that conveyed “the whole range of Spencer’s turbulence.” Sidney Fields devoted a column in The Sunday Mirror to the young man, who shared his career plans. “I always wanted to study pharmacy,” Mr. Gossett said. “But now after college I’ll try acting. I know it’s a tough business, but if I fail, I’ll have the pharmacy degree to fall back on.” He ended up majoring in drama (and minoring in pharmacy) while on a basketball scholarship at New York University.

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October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

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