Yesha Callahan

We Can’t Wait to See ‘Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee’


Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis were serious relationship goals. The couple was not only madly in love for more than five decades, but they also threw themselves into their art and the fight for civil rights. Now, the couple’s amazing story is coming to the small screen.

In “Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee,” the legendary couple’s grandson, Muta’Ali Muhammad, tells the story of their unshakable bond.

Here’s how the film’s press release breaks it down:

For more than a half century, audiences have been mesmerized by the love story between Hollywood legends Ossie Davis & Ruby Dee. Now, their grandson Muta’Ali unearths the foundation of this unbreakable bond in the documentary “Life’s Essentials with Ruby Dee,” which premieres on Centric TV Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 3 pm. Through intimate conversations with the award-winning actress, playwright and activist, Muta’Ali not only discovers intimate details about his grandparents’ relationship, but also questions his ability to carry on the very dynasty that gave him life. In the film, the director breaks the wall between himself and his subject to ask heartfelt questions of his grandmother. “How do you stay faithful? And if I can’t see myself doing that, how can I honestly get married knowing that I could eventually break the heart of the woman I love?”

“I can’t say I didn’t do anything to make Ossie unhappy…” Ms. Dee states as she carefully reveals the core commitment made between her and Mr. Davis. Her answer only sparked more questions for Muta’Ali, provoking him to dig deeper into the family archives and the history of He chronicles their remarkable journey as trailblazers in the arts community and activists in the Civil Rights Movement. Muta’Ali also shares exclusive video footage, family photos and memorabilia. In addition, a host of celebrity friends like Alan Alda, Angela Bassett, Harry Belafonte, Danny Glover, Hill Harper, Samuel Jackson, Spike Lee, S. Epatha Merkerson, Phylicia Rashad, Glynn Turman, Dr. Cornel West, Sonia Sanchez and Malik Yoba share eyewitness accounts of this American legacy.

“Life Essentials with Ruby Dee” premieres on Sunday, January 17, 2016, 3:00pm  EST on Centric.

Will you be tuning in?

  1. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    I usually miss specials like these due to forgetfulness, but best believe I’m going to write this down down in my agenda, set my alarm, tell my friends I’m busy Sunday so don’t invite me anywhere and hopefully, I remember to read my agenda and don’t leave my apartment on Sunday because of some last minute shopping spree. I really want to see this. It looks like it’s going to be GOOD.

    • January 12, 2016 - Reply


      Do you have a Dvr? You could just set it to record.

      • January 12, 2016 - Reply


        I do! I rarely watch tv so I forgot all about my Dvr. Thanks for reminding me.

        • January 12, 2016 - Reply


          No problem. I forget to set my DVR sometimes too. Then I come home and want to kick myself for having the DVR and not using it.

  2. January 11, 2016 - Reply

    It’s a powerful story. The trailer is dynamic, creative, and emotional. Muta’Ali Muhammad is doing a labor of love, by showing in public, great information about his grandparents. Many of our elders are passing away. Therefore, we have to learn lessons about our elders, so the world can exist in the better format than the past. That is our goal. We want black liberation, so all in the human race can be truly free from oppression and injustice. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee had a long love story. Their sweet, sacrosanct love story doesn’t just deal with romance and emotional connections. It dealt with social activism, which both people have done courageously in the service of humankind.

    Social activism enriches the soul and it inspires others to fight for the cause of goodness and justice too. For years, Ruby Dee lived in Harlem. She and Ossie Davis opposed the execution of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis disagreed with the McCarthyite witch hunts, because they were a violation of democratic, human rights. Ruby Dee was a friend to both Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis opposed the Vietnam War. Additionally, they gave speeches to protest the unjust Vietnam War. Ruby Dee was a genius and she worked in film, theater, and other endeavors as we, as black people, are the masters of creativity and performing in diverse endeavors. Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee not only protested police brutality (they abhorred the murder of Amadou Diallo). They also opposed the unjust Iraq War, which has caused much of unfortunate turmoil that we see in the Middle East presently. Her physical body is not alive now.

    Yet, her spirit lives on.

    Her values and her progressive principles inspire us. We owe a lot to her. I remember watching the Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis movie special every weekend years ago. We honor the love between a strong black couple that loved each other so. Great beauty encompasses Black Love. Therefore, we cherish Ruby Dee’s memory and we will continue on the work that the couple established (in our own ways). Yes, I will look at the documentary on Centric.

  3. January 12, 2016 - Reply

    If she would have said yes I would have run off with this woman who was over 40 years my senior. Ossie and my wife would have just had to understand.

    She was the very epitome of the phrase “black girls/woman are magic”!!!

  4. January 12, 2016 - Reply

    I loved them together as a couple.

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