I Miss Your Smile!
TERRY GLOVER has been a friend of mine for a long time. One of my first jobs after I graduated from college was in the Illinois State Arts Program. Cable was still being installed across the country and as part of the negotiation for the right to provide cable to a city, cable companies had to provide a public access channel, a studio and equipment for locals to make their own shows. I was brought in to teach folks how to use the equipment in interesting ways.
I didn’t know much about video, but I did know I wanted access to cameras and editing bays, so I stumbled my way through teaching in local high schools and community groups in a small town called Zion Illinois. Zion was founded by a religious cult who thought the world would end at the dawn of the 20 century so they went to the lake for a great view of it. When the days kept coming, they just settled in there. Most of the streets are alphabetical and have Biblical names.
On the weekends, I would pack up a camera and some lights and drive down to Chicago where I knew one person: Richard Pena, who was running the film program at the Art Institute of Chicago. Richard graciously let me stay on his couch. Eventually I met other filmmakers in Chicago like Floyd Webb, Sergio Mims and Terry Glover . With them as my core supporters, I begged, borrowed and stole my way into shooting a half hour short film called REGGIE’S WORLD OF SOUL. It was a no budget version of IN LIVING COLOR years before that show was launched.
I have no idea how I got so many wonderful people to help me out with no money, but I did. Terry had a great smile and her temperament balanced out the whole circus act.
Years later, Terry reached out to me after she became managing editor of Ebony, asking about replacing the old “Just For Laughs” cartoon section in Ebony for something relevant to the 21st century. I volunteered myself to write the new strip, and she was surprised but happy. She wanted an epic graphic novel with intrigue and politics. I wanted that too, but knew I needed to deliver some family oriented laughs too. So YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH, which mixed Cosbyesque sitcom (usually from my own life) with my ongoing obsession with transforming and uplifting my home town of East St. Louis, was born.
Terry was a tough editor, but very supportive and helped protect me from other folks at Ebony who clearly hated the political content of the strip. To keep it alive under increasing editorial scrutiny, I dumped the overtly political plotline, and focused on subversively political family humor.
Sometimes Terry would disappear, unreachable for several weeks. Eventually she revealed she was undergoing chemotherapy. But she wouldn’t really talk about it.
Now Terry is gone, and so is the strip. The last episode for Ebony ran in the December issue. I really liked the strip, but losing Terry is just terrible.