The original Tuskegee Airmen are expected to attend the special screening of George Lucas-produced film "Red Tails" at the downtown Hayward theater on Friday, January 20. Three aviators from the all-black World War II squadron are set to take part in the premiere event along with representatives from the Bay Area Black Pilots Association and East Bay Aviators Inc.
Executive director of East Bay Aviators, Ben Henderson, said that the Airmen are set to arrive at the venue around 11 A.M. and stay for a reception to watch the movie. In addition to inviting those pilots to the Hayward special screening, there have been plans to build a Tuskegee Airmen Museum at the California Air National Guard site at the Hayward Executive Airport.
Starring Terrence Howard and Cuba Gooding Jr., "Red Tails" is set in 1944 when the war in Europe continued to take its toll on Allied forces. At that time, the Pentagon brass had no recourse but to consider unorthodox options, including the untried and untested African-American pilots of the experimental Tuskegee training program.
Just as the young Tuskegee men are on the brink of being shut down and shipped back home, they are given the ultimate chance to show their courage. Against all the odds, with something to prove and everything to lose, these intrepid young airmen take to the skies to fight for their country, and the fate of the free world.
The movie has been said as Lucas' 20-year passion project. The A-list filmmaker spent $58 million of his own money to produce the film. Sharing about how he carried the responsibility to direct the movie, Anthony Hemingway admitted that it was not an easy job.
"I went to Tuskegee, Alabama and actually had the chance to look into the eyes of living history and when I looked into their eyes and connected with them it really it, it registered and the weight of the world was on my shoulders at that point," he told NBC News.
"It's not a shock that the system or Hollywood didn't want to tell the story," the director added. "We're thankful that George [Lucas] did what he did and had the passion to....help tell this history."
"Red Tails" has been scheduled to open wide in the U.S. theaters on January 20. In addition to Hayward, more original Tuskegee Airmen are expected to attend the special screenings of "Red Tails" in several other cities.