Singer, actress, activist, and all-around creative powerhouse Abbey Lincoln died over the weekend at the age of 80.
Sorry to say, I never got to hear Abbey live. I was privileged to see (and interview, hot damn!) her ex-husband Max Roach, composer and drummer, whose We Insist! Freedom Now suite is still the context in which many people remember Abbey Lincoln.
As much as I love Abbey Lincoln’s singing, it was her acting that first caught my attention. The late and fondly remembered Wells Keddie screened Nothing But a Man (1964) in his labor studies class. Though the focus of the film is Duff, played by Ivan Dixon, Abbey Lincoln’s performance as Josie gives him plenty to work with. Check out this scene: She does more with her eyes than many actresses do with their bodies.