Turning Points: Mark of Beauty

A groundbreaking actress-singer revisits the values that movies once instilled in her

The success of the TV sitcom Julia in 1968 helped change the image of black Americans on television. I played a Vietnam War widow, a nurse, raising her child. Many were completely unaware of the black middle class, but I was raised in this community, and the Julias of this country were my family and friends. Some, both white and black, protested that we weren't portraying black poverty--"telling it like it is" (a phrase I came to detest). But other blacks told me, "We've never seen images of ourselves before." Actually, it's an image of another kind that has concerned me...

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