Life’s Essentials: Celebrity Grandson Raises Funds to Tell His Own Dee and Davis Story

Ruby Dee and the late Ossie Davis’ grandson, Muta Ali Muhammad the son of their daughter, Dr. Hasna Muhammad is paving his own way financially by raising $50,000 to create a documentary film about both grandparents. Like his historic kinfolk, he too has his own lens about ‘what is’ and he too makes public assertions. According to this priceless young man, he is making the first feature  documentary about his iconic grandparents! Significantly this industrious young man will celebrate his screening of the film in a celebration of his grandmother’s  birthday  on October 27, 2012.

Muta Ali’s motives for his film are like his chosen title  for the project called, Life’s Essentials. In many ways we see in the sneak-preview and trailer that the project is an essential vehicle to understanding his own life in relation to his grandparents.  Most Americans know Ruby Dee as an extraordinary actress, poet and author and knew Ossie Davis as a actor, playwright and director. We, can all look as near as an Encyclopedia Britannica and as far as any global search engine to learn that Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee helped to define a pluralist idea of the American stage and Black Theatre. We can discover that they played in all genres relating to the performing arts through stage, film and television and stood up for civil rights in the streets or the malls of Washington for what was right – but sometimes that’s not enough for caring and thinking progeny.

Muta Ali and his “family team” (listed below) have created a wonderful trailer to introduce the project. The kick-off and teaser collects the credibility, savvy, charm and magic of the cultural icons and presents their  quintessential beauty and simplicity. Muta Ali edifies their traditions as he practices his legacy art form  in directing the film. Muta Ali is an accomplished professional filmmaker and social media innovator with high praises already from Atlanta to new York City.

The Ossie and Ruby dynamic has to this day extraordinary appeal and when they are coupled with initiatives like this they continue to touch many people’s hearts and minds because of their sheer commitment and how through this family we can ‘mark’ how black people in particular move history, encourage new generations and even creedal ideas. The Dee and Davis commitments to our social causes (voting, labor, healthcare, foreign and domestic policies) is our reminder of what’s at stake, what’s important beyond a pocket that is filled or empty. Their’s is a currency beyond cash earned speaking up in direct-social action — whether they be called subversive or celebrity.

Muta Ali is using to facilitate his fundraising. This funding platform site is considered a “crowd funding” approach that allows friends and their networks to learn and contribute financially to creative projects. This platform moved for example through many circles of support from Hollywood and actors, Danny Glover, Glynn Turman and Alan Alda to Pearson Cotton in Atlanta a retired teacher and family friend to Hanietta Dowling-Jones in the D.C. area who is a social media captain for New Rochelle natives who live across country and through the American Theatre Hall of Fame inductee, Woodie King Jr. the dean of Black Theatre’s database around the world.

Muta Ali’s tenacity to fund his own work is also a part of his family legacy. The Davis family’s children are all accomplished outside of their parent’s celebrity. Nora the first born has always been a working partner to her parents as a business, technical and creative backbone to the family enterprise. Guy Davis is a world renowned blues artist and musician and Dr. Hasna Muhammad is an seasoned district school administrator, author and public speaker. Muta Ali’s father, Abdul Wali Muhammad grew up in the Davis’ hometown of New Rochelle, NY and is a gifted and professional musician and attorney. The Dee and Davis mantra and integrity as we will see through the gifts of this celebrity grandson will retain its awe and intelligence.

Thank God we can say again that, “apples don’t fall far from their trees…”  Oh yeah, we can also expect to hear a lot more from this family for quite some time to come — because Ossie and Ruby have a bunch of grands! :>)

Project Credits

Production Team


Originally from Westchester, NY, Muta’Ali has grown from a young director of short titles to a budding filmmaker with a range of experience. He has directed over seven feature-length documentaries for artists under record labels including Def Jam Music, Universal Music

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deedavisNora Davis Day
Consulting Producer
President & CEO of Dee Davis Enterprises and Emmalyn II Productions Inc. Emmy Award winner and Executive Producer for Grammy Award winning audiobook “With Ossie and Ruby: In this Life Together”. Associate Produced three seasons of “With Ossie & Ruby” on PBS.

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Arminda Thomas
Arminda Thomas is the dramaturg and archivist for Dee-Davis Enterprises, where her production dramaturgy credits include Ossie Davis’ A Last Dance for Sybil (New Federal Theater) and Ruby Dee’s musical adaptation of John Boscoe and the Devil (EST’s Going to

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njNJ Frank

Brooklyn born, film producer NJ Frank has an instinctual talent for photography and film. His passion and projects are known for their thought provoking impact. He began making a name for himself producing major projects for clients including AAA,

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sonya bio pic smallSonya Denyse
Project Management
Sonya Denyse is a creatively strategic professional. Sonya’s career spans the public and private sectors in the areas of finance, economic development, and entertainment and is rooted in the singular theme of stellar service. A magna cum laude graduate of New York University and a certified life coach

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Official Website for Documentary:

IMDB: Ossie DavisRuby Dee
Wikipedia: Ossie DavisRuby Dee

Website for Ossie & Ruby

Timeline of Black History and their ideological interests



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