Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. held a private screening that wowed audiences at Lincoln Center's Rose Hall on Monday night in NYC. The show explores his passion for genetics and genealogies in a new PBS series, "Finding Your Roots" starting this Sunday. Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Civil rights veteran Rep. John Lewis of Georgia were in attendance and also featured in the screening.
Before the show I had the chance to chat briefly with Mr. Booker about the docu-series and our Fandom for President Obama. Our short conversation came right after he unintentionally stepped on my toes more than a few times while posing for pics on the carpet (close quarters).
While posing for pics with Mr. Booker and Professor Gates, I remarked that someone on the carpet smelled great, and Mr. Gates quickly took credit for the pleasant aroma by saying "That would be me, Quincy Jones gave me this cologne!” I unfortunately didn't get the name of this fragrance and had to wonder, what will he do when he runs out? Ask Mr. Jones for more?
Mr. Booker, who was born in DC and raised in Highland Park N.J., learned from father’s side of the family that “My father was born to a single mother and really got adopted by the whole community because she had a difficult time taking care of him. So I’m very curious about my father’s background, and we’ve really had a hard stop, not knowing whence he came.”
All in all it was a fun night of cocktails, beautiful views of Central Park, passed hors d’oeurves and a very interesting lesson in family history.
Future episodes of the 10-part series to precede Masterpiece Theater will illuminate the family histories of Samuel L. Jackson, Harry Connick, Jr., Condoleeza Rice, Robert Downey, Jr. and Barbara Walters, among other notable individuals.
Trailer for show: