Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good, and shall loathe yourselves in your own sight for your iniquities and for your abominations – Ezekiel 36:31
A very poignant scene is when Dr. Shirley enters the dining area of the venue he is scheduled to perform at but is not allowed to eat there. He is then told by the host that despite his notable reputation, colored people are not permitted to eat in dining area. However, he is given the option to order his food and have it brought to the dressing room. “I’m eating in this room or I’m not playing!” is Dr. Shirley’s response. After Tony is taken to the side by the host in an attempt to gain his cooperation, which is met with aggression, Dr. Shirley interrupts and offers to reconsider: “It’s all right, Tony. I’ll play…if you want me to.”
Lesson: Taking a stand. At that pivotal moment, Tony was not only forced to see bigotry at its ugliest but given an opportunity to denounce it, to choose against the Jim Crow mentality when he said: “Let’s get the … outta hear.” Tony took a stand, as well as in other sections of the movie, once he witnessed the indignity of his beliefs about black people. Faced with the reality of watching Dr. Shirley’s mistreatment, a man he no longer saw as only a colored man, but a respectable human being, it prompted him to not only think right but do right.
While Tony’s character isn’t likable, his decision to go against the notion that people of color weren’t entitled to fair treatment was very commendable, especially for someone who has long-lived with that type of belief. It was said in the movie: “It takes courage to change people’s hearts,” which includes standing up for what’s right. Jesus did, and He’ll give us through the Holy Spirit the courage to do likewise.