Death rears its ugly head again, this time claiming one of the greatest men of the twentieth century, civil rights activist and comedian, Dick Gregory. He was 84.
The news was verified by The Hollywood Reporter.
Dick Gregory in 1966 before being arrested
“It is with enormous sadness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic legend and civil rights activist Mr. Dick Gregory departed this earth tonight in Washington, D.C.,” his son, Christian Gregory said via a statement from his father’s rep. “The family appreciates the outpouring of support and love and respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”
“He was one of the sweetest, smartest, most loving people one could ever know,” his publicist of 50 years, Steve Jaffe, tells THR. “I just hope that God is ready for some outrageously funny times.” A full statement and details of Gregory’s funeral will be released Sunday, Jaffe said.
According to an Aug. 17 statement written by his son, Gregory was recently hospitalized.
Dick Gregory was a pioneer in the comedic realm, becoming the first Black comedian to perform regularly in front of White audiences. His act consisted of social satires on racism and societal ills that hit all too close to home.
“When I started, a black comic couldn’t work a white nightclub. You could sing, you could dance, but you couldn’t stand flat-footed and talk — then the system would know how brilliant black folks was,” Gregory recalled in a 2016 interview.
Dick used his platform and reach to not only make audiences laugh, but fight for the civil rights of African-Americans. His autobiography entitled Nigger, details the pain, heartache, and triumph he and his wife endured during these trying times. It truly goes without saying that Mr. Gregory was a legend among legends right up there with the likes of Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, and Bayard Rusting. We love and already miss you Mr. Gregory and the fight for equality and justice will carry on–FOREVER!
Written By: Michael “Hey Mikey” Fanning
Follow me on Twitter/IG @HeyMikeyATL