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S. Pearl Sharp

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Information about S. Pearl Sharp

Profile image of S. Pearl Sharp

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Playwright
Film Actress
Stage Actress
Poet

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray, Purple, Red, Yellow
Favorite Food:
Ice Cream
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Don't Do To Others What You Don't Want Done To You. What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Birthplace

Born:
12/21/1942
Birth Location:
Cleveland, Ohio

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Playwright
Film Actress
Stage Actress
Poet

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Gray, Purple, Red, Yellow
Favorite Food:
Ice Cream
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Don't Do To Others What You Don't Want Done To You. What Goes Around, Comes Around.

Birthplace

Born:
12/21/1942
Birth Location:
Cleveland
See how S. Pearl Sharp is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Writer, actor and filmmaker Saundra Pearl Sharp was born on December 21, 1942 in Cleveland, Ohio to Clarence and Faythe Sharp. Sharp’s family was active in the local NAACP, and she was raised in Antioch Baptist Church. Sharp graduated from John Adams High School in 1960, and attended Bowling Green State University, where she pursued a double major in music education and radio-TV production. She became the first Black member of the BGSU chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda, the music honor society, and produced a children’s story series and music interviews on the campus radio station. During the summer, Sharp interned at WABQ-AM in Cleveland, under the tutelage of Valena Minor Williams, LeBaron Taylor and Jack Gibson.

Graduating in 1964, Sharp moved to New York City, where her first job was as a copywriter for T.V. Guide. She studied acting under the Poverty Program’s HARYOU-ACT with Cleveland’s Karamu Theatre alumni Al Fann and Minnie Gentry. She performed in J.E. Franklin’s Black Girl, in the chorus of the Pearl Bailey company of Hello Dolly from 1967 to 1968, Uniworld’s radio serial Sounds Of The City, and in Gordon Parks’ film, The Learning Tree. Sharp also starred in the TV movies Minstrel Man (1976) and Hollow Image (1980), had recurring roles on Wonder Woman (1978), St. Elsewhere (1984/87) and Knots Landing (1985), and was a leading commercial spokeswoman.

A poet from childhood, Sharp attended John O. Killens’ Writers Workshop at Columbia University where she completed two volumes of poetry and her first play, The Sistuhs, in addition to forming the literary performance troupe Poets & Performers.
In the mid-1970’s Sharp moved to Los Angeles. She created Poets Pay Rent, Too, and served as publisher/editor of Robert E. Price’s Blood Lines (1978), Directory of Black Film/TV Technicians and Artists, West Coast (1980), The BAD-C (Black Anti-Defamation Coalition) Media Matters Newsletter (1981-84) and The Black History Film List (1989). Publisher Glenn Thompson re-issued her 1978 poetry volume Soft Song (1978, 1991) and published Typing in the Dark (Harlem River Press, 1991) and the non-fiction Black Women for Beginners (Writers & Readers, 1993). Sharp was a co-founder, with Robert E. Price, of the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition which monitored the image of Blacks in the media (1980-85).

In 1980 Sharp shifted her focus to filmmaking, studying at Los Angeles City College. Her films include Back Inside Herself (1984), Life Is A Saxophone (1985), Picking Tribes (1988), It’s OK to Peek (1996), The Healing Passage/ Voices From The Water (2004); and for the City of Los Angeles, Central Avenue Live! (1996) and Fertile Ground: Stories from the Watts Towers Arts Center (2005).

Sharp was an essayist and commentator on NPR from 2003 to 2009, and has served as a volunteer segment producer for KPFK-FM, Pacifica Radio Network. Her non-fiction writings are collected in The Evening News- Essays And Commentaries From NPR And Other Clouds (2015).

S. Pearl Sharp was interviewed for The HistoryMakers on April 27, 2005.

See how S. Pearl Sharp is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of S. Pearl Sharp's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her family's origin
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers stories of her maternal grandmother singing opera
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her mother's life in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her parents' marriage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her maternal great-grandfather, Mason Garner
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about Karamu House in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls her move to Cleveland, Ohio's Mount Pleasant neighborhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her family's community involvement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her family's love of music
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her school experiences in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls racism at her nursery school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes John Adams Senior High School in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers watching 'The Nat King Cole Show'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the Little Rock Nine visiting Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the radio station at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls interviewing Miriam Makeba for her college radio station
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the integration of student housing at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the racial climate at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her education and activities at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes traveling to New York City in 1964
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her first job at TV Guide
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her contemporaries at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her experience on 'Captain Kangaroo'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes HARYOU-ACT and the Black Arts Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes poetry in the Black Arts Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her acting and singing career with the Al Fann & Co.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes performing in Pearl Bailey's 'Hello Dolly' in 1967
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes Pearl Bailey
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp explains the divisions in New York City's theatre community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers helping Babtunde Olantuji design dashikis
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about black theater
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp describes being in the first all-black commercial
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp explains how African Americans broke into entertainment industry unions
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her play 'The Sistuhs'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her role in 'The Learning Tree'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers filming a lynching scene for 'Minstrel Man'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her experience with 'The Learning Tree'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes filming scenes for 'The Minstrel Man'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her move to Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her work with the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about BADC's campaign against 'Webster' and 'White Dog'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about BADC's campaign against the Malcolm X movie
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her role on the soap opera 'Knots Landing'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes a Betty Crocker commercial she was in
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her work helping others to get published
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Slating of S. Pearl Sharp's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the founding of the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls her civil rights activism in the entertainment industry
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers her early networking in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her Broadway career in New York City
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls acting in Gordon Parks' film, 'The Learning Tree'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers her audition for 'The Learning Tree'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the 'Our Street' public television program, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls studying writing under John Oliver Killens at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the 'Our Street' public television program, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the 'Minstrel Man' television movie
  • Tape: 7 Story: 12 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her friendship with Beah Richards
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers actress Beah Richards
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the representation of black America in Hollywood
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her early interest in writing, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her sister
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her early interest in writing, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers her program on WGBU Radio in Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her early career in New York City
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her group, Poets and Performers
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the Black Arts Movement, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the Black Arts Movement, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the differences in New York City's art scenes
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her poem, 'It's the Law: A Rap Poem'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers her introduction to Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the black Russian community
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls her early acting career in Los Angeles, California, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her early supplementary income
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls her early acting career in Los Angeles, California, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls enrolling at Los Angeles City College in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers her early television commercial appearances
  • Tape: 9 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the creation of her film, 'Back Inside Herself'
  • Tape: 9 Story: 11 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her documentary, 'Life Is a Saxophone,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her documentary, 'Life Is a Saxophone,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the group, Reel Black Women
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the '1980 Directory of Black Film/TV: Technicians, West Coast,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the '1980 Directory of Black Film/TV: Technicians, West Coast,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the work of the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the work of the Black Anti-Defamation Coalition, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the impact of HIV/AIDS
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes Mildred Pitts Walter, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about journalist Margaret Prescod
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp describes Mildred Pitts Walter, pt. 2
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the civic engagement of Sandra Evers-Manly
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp remembers the legacy of Mayme Clayton
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the Alfred and Bernice Ligon Aquarian Collection
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her book, 'Black Women For Beginners,' pt. 1
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her book, 'Black Women For Beginners,' pt. 2
  • Tape: 11 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp describes the Juneteenth Audio Books
  • Tape: 11 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her film, 'The Healing Passage: Voice from the Water'
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - S. Pearl Sharp recalls the reception to 'The Healing Passage: Voices from the Water'
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her early career at National Public Radio
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her NPR program, 'News and Notes'
  • Tape: 12 Story: 4 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her essay collection, 'The Evening News'
  • Tape: 12 Story: 5 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her consultancy, The Gate is Open
  • Tape: 12 Story: 6 - S. Pearl Sharp describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 12 Story: 7 - S. Pearl Sharp reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 12 Story: 8 - S. Pearl Sharp reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 12 Story: 9 - S. Pearl Sharp describes her advice to black aspiring entertainment industry professionals
  • Tape: 12 Story: 10 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about the importance of voicing concerns
  • Tape: 12 Story: 11 - S. Pearl Sharp talks about her health and spirituality