A Renaissance man remembers
Gordon Parks Jr.'s accomplishments as a photographer and writer are remarkable, but he has also been a composer, painter, director and producer. While he's already penned one majestic book about his life, The Learning Tree, it was impossible to fully chronicle such a rich life in one work. A Hungry Heart puts his amazing career into perspective, with Parks recalling his personal triumphs and disasters and his encounters with such famous names as Dr. King, Stokely Carmichael, Roy Wilkins, Malcolm X and various actors and athletes. Though longtime followers of Parks' work will probably know many of the details in these stories, this new treatment lets him look back at harsher times and evaluate past decisions and actions. Sometimes there's a hint of regret, as when he acknowledges the devastating effects that making the film Leadbelly had on his marriage. He also recounts in graphically descriptive language the impact hunger and suffering had on him both as a youngster and later during the Depression. A Hungry Heart is living history from an icon whose existence defines and illuminates the black experience. Ron Wynn writes for the Nashville City Paper and other publications.