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Lackawanna Blues (TV)

Original title
Lackawanna Blues (TV)
Running time
95 min.
United States United States
Ruben Santiago-Hudson (Play: Ruben Santiago-Hudson)
Meshell Ndegeocello
Ivan Strasburg
Drama. Musical | Biography. TV Movie
Synopsis / Plot
Based on the acclaimed autobiographical one-man show by Ruben Santiago-Hudson (who wrote the adaptation and appears in the film), and co-executive produced by the Oscar®-winning actress Halle Berry, this warm and vibrant drama is an inspiring story of coming of age, of a mother/son love that transcends biological ties, and of an extraordinary woman who built a community and circumvented segregation in her own determined way. Like a good blues song, the film strikes notes that are painful but beautiful, ones that remain alive to both the heartbreaks and joys of life.

Lackawanna Blues pays homage to an era gone by, taking an affectionate look at the ties that bind an African-American community in the period just before desegregation. The drama takes place primarily as a flashback to Santiago-Hudson's childhood, starting with his birth in the upstate NY town of Lackawanna during a raucous Friday-night fish fry hosted by Rachel "Nanny" Crosby (S. Epatha Merkerson). As a boy in the 1950s and 60s, with his parents unable to take care of him, Ruben Jr. is essentially adopted by Nanny, proprietor of a rooming house and mentor to countless down-on-their luck blacks who moved there from Nanny's hometown in Virginia. Nanny's place is not just walls and a roof, but a home where misfits and drifters can escape their personal hells to find a fresh start and a family. Against this background, Jr. receives an education in life from a diverse and colorful group of boarders. However, his biggest bond will always be with Nanny, in a relationship that nobody, not even a pair of zealous social workers, can tear asunder.
2005: Golden Globes: Best Actress in a TV Movie (Merkerson)
2005: Emmy: Best Actress (Merkerson) and Casting. 7 Nominations
2005: Independent Spirit Awards: 2 Nom. incl. Best Actress (S. Epatha Merkerson)
2005: Producers Guild Awards (PGA): Nominated for Best TV Movie
2005: Directors Guild of America (DGA): Best Director (Miniseries/TV Movie)
2005: Writers Guild of America (WGA): Nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (Long Form)
2005: Screen Actors Guild (SAG): Best Actress TV Movie or Miniseries (S. Epatha Merkerson)
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