Danny Glover didn’t get “all Hollywood.”
He still keeps in touch with his childhood friends. He still goes to lunch with classmates from High School.
A slight gasp mixed with hushed cheers could be heard from the crowd when the actor, producer and humanitarian told the audience at a dinner for the Universal Foundation for Better Living (UFBL) on Friday, July 19.
Glover, the keynote, shared his experiences working in the film industry and reflected on moments growing up with his family. The iconic actor also discussed his role in his latest film, "The Last Black Man in San Francisco." The film, currently in theaters, is about the harsh realities of gentrification, specifically in San Francisco. The movie resonates with Glover who told The Miami Times, "I'm from San Francisco, born and raised."
The UFBL, an international organization of New Thought Churches, invited Glover to be its guest speaker this year. The group kicked off its 45th annual spiritual conference, Panorama of Truth, on July 17 with Susan L. Taylor as keynote speaker. The theme for this year's conference was "Bold enough to transform and not conform." The dinner on July 19, "A Conversation with Danny Glover," was hosted by Thomasina Williams, founder of Sankofa Legacy Advisors. The event was attended by close to 300 people at the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Miami.
Guests, who came from far and wide, as well as locally, chuckled as Glover shared stories about his grandmother and her witty sense of humor. Glover also took the audience down memory lane with his film projects and discussed the importance of selecting the type of work he took on.
"I think there are two separate things that happen in this business if you have the opportunity. There are movies that are gonna get done, [and] there are movies that you know will get done and you adjust, whatever the course of action, Glover said. "Silverado," was gonna happen, we didn't know if we were gonna do it; "Witness" was gonna happen, you know; "The Color Purple," was gonna happen; "Lethal Weapon" was gonna happen, you know. All of them was gonna happen but you try to pick out what are the kinds of movies that I want to do? And I've gone through that from the beginning, you know."
Nerissa Street, a Miami resident who works as an arts educator, attended the event because she's always admired Glover's work.
"My favorite part of the evening with Danny Glover was his complete passion for his own filmmaking projects. I'm just excited about him encouraging those of us who are also filmmakers like myself to continue telling the stories that aren't being told and so that's what I hope to be able to do with this inspiration," said Street.
Joe Tumpkin, a Colorado resident who has been a member of UFBL since 1982 traveled to Miami specifically to assist with organizing the event. Tumpkin, who met Glover the same night of the dinner, said he's been a longtime follower of the actor's work and appreciates the growth.
"Just listening to the history and how he has grown as an icon, you know growing up and watching his movies and now seeing that he's more than just an actor. You think you know him because you watch his movies all the time," said Tumpkin.
Toward the end of the conversation, a music trio sang "Happy Birthday" to Glover (his Birthday is on July 22) before Glover rose from his seat on stage to a standing ovation from attendees.
Glover was seen taking photos and chatting with attendees who approached him, raving to him about their appreciation for his movies. The award-winning actor has received the ACE Award for his role in HBO's production of “Mandela.” Glover's accolades also include receiving an NAACP Image Award as well as Emmy nominations.