*Lionel Richie has put his voice and his home behind the promotion of a 27-minute documentary short about the all-black WWII squadron from his hometown.
On Oct. 1, the singer opened up his Beverly Hills house for an intimate event with 20 guests to screen “The Tuskegee Airmen: Sacrifice and Triumph,” reports the AP.
Richie had returned to his hometown of Tuskegee, Ala., where he first saw the short and felt it deserved the attention of Oscar voters. “I made a few phone calls, even though it was very last-minute,” says Richie about his screening, and helping to get the film qualified for awards consideration.
Included among the guests were Herbie Hancock, several Academy documentary branch members and Lt. Col. Theodore Lumpkin, an original Tuskegee Airman.
Richie previously supported the 2012 George Lucas-produced feature “Red Tails.”
“What George Lucas went through — he couldn’t get anybody to distribute it, even after he made it with his own money!” says Richie. “That shows you the resistance out there.”
Richie says he plans to organize several more screenings of Airmen and to make sure “Uncle Sidney [Poitier]” and “Uncle Quincy [Jones]” get copies of the film.
Eventually, he’d like to see the film make its way to schools around the country. He adds: “You can’t settle. There’s a young generation coming along that I want to know that the fiber of America has black people in it. We made major contributions in this country.”
As for what would happen if the film did win an Oscar, Richie says with a laugh: “I’m rushing the stage! What are you talking about? Are you kidding me?”
Watch the trailer below: