President Barack Obama and the First Lady invited Star Wars Director George Lucas and a few of the cast members from his new film, Red Tails, to the White House Friday for a movie night. But the guests of honor were a few of the original Tuskegee Airmen, the black WW II aviators whose story — brought to the big screen thanks to Lucas’s own money — is opening in theaters on January 20.
Trent Dudley, the president of the Washington, D.C., Tuskegee Airmen chapter and a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, called the White House screening “a tremendous recognition of all the contributions the airmen made not only in World War II but the fight against racism.”
The Tuskegee Airmen were the first black aviators to serve in the United States military. Trained at the Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama to be a segregated unit, they encountered severe racism in the military but went on to become one of World War II’s most respected fighter squadrons, with 398 pilots flying combat missions.
The film’s title, Red Tails, refers to their squadron’s unique mark painted on each of their airplanes. Lucas’s all-black cast is said to have been a major factor in the refusal of any of the major Hollywood studios to back the film.
With a screening at the White House and Mr. Lucas’s outspoken comments in media interviews regarding the Hollywood establishment, the film is gaining buzz, with African-Americans, in particular, motivating their friends and family to go see the film on its opening weekend.
(READ more at Huffington Post)