Sean Combs aka P. Diddy won a NAACP Image Award for his role of Walter Lee in the TV production of A Raisin in the Sun and drew some criticism. You know the whole rapper/actor thing. Before we get into that, a little background.
Lorraine Hansberry wrote Raisin in 1959 at time prior to the civil unrest of civil rights marches and Dr. Kings assasination, six years before her own death to cancer.
This story occupies a unique niche in time when African Americans were still trying to pursue the American Dream the old way; working hard and hoping their efforts paid off for them and their children. Civil rights legislation would later ensure that that hard work was met with measurable progress.
The original stage production in New York 1959 showcased Ruby Dee as Ruth Younger and Sidney Poitier as Walter Lee. If I only had a time machine! That would be something to see.
There has been criticism of the 2008 version, much due to Combs being cast as the anxious Walter Lee. Granted, Sean Combs is no Sidney Poitier, but I think he did a good job. My girl, Audra McDonald, played Ruth Younger. She is so my role model. I want to be a classical singer/stage actress too.
Although some of the material is edited from the original, the TV version does justice to Hansberry's intent. A Raisin in the Sun is timeless saga of the triumphs and struggle of a family trying to advance in tough times.
Speaking of timeless, Phylicia Rashad, love her!
P.S. I still have the actual written play on my bookshelf.