Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling 1986 PG-13 Language
Lou D. Washington was a friend and singing mate from my youth. He was also one of the original five founders of Steeltown Records, a team of musicians and businessmen who first recorded and launched Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Occasionally Lou would sing with a young group I founded, in high school, called the Valiants. When I left the group to attend college at Fisk in Nashville Lou D. continued to sing regularly with the Valiants who in that year recorded my song “I Shed A Tear”produced by Steeltown and later licensed it to Destiny Records in Chicago. Lou “D” as he was known was multi-talented and one of the funniest guys I’ve ever known, in addition to being a standout serious R&B balladeer and songwriter.
Back in the day Lou D. was medium built and wore snazzy outfits and ensembles that always made him stand out from the crowd. I recall even once he was called into the principal’s office and queried about his choice of wardrobe. He wore the Sherlock Holmes double- billed plaid cap with a matching shoulder cape and ankle spats, a vest from which dangled a gold plated pocket watch and chain and high topped spit shined shoes. Wherever Lou D. was in a room there’d be at least three or more people gathered around him because you knew you were in for some serious laughter at some point. His humor was spontaneous, original and witty; he could make a joke of any thing small or serious. Lou D. Washington became known for his quick comebacks, and improvisational gifts of wit that humbled many a bumbling idiot who’d dare “play the dozens with him”, a word game that evolved within black urban communities prizing quick witted ‘Yo Mama’ jokes about the players’ mothers, family, personal looks, mannerisms or any other subject to be derided in a trash talking session. These ego boosting often derisive verbal competitions were largely the province of young black males. In today’s pop culture lingo rappers call it “spitting.”
A number of linguists, including conservative cultural critic Dr. Thomas Sowell and other cultural critics have observed that coming of age for many urban youth has often been benchmarked by an ability to “think on one’s feet” to face insult and indignity with quick witted thoughtful verbal barbs while developing facility with the English language. The kind of linguistic code switching is viewed as a skill set within postmodern interpretations of linguistic patterns and language use. It is seen in the selective use of so called “Ebonics”, a controversial idiom criticized as a form of black sub-standard speech by many who regard its use of black dialectic speech as sub-standard and refusal to develop proficiency in English.
After leaving East Chicago for Hollywood to pursue singing and acting as a career, Lou’s comedic talent was quickly observed in L.A Clubs by writer/comedian Paul Mooney, a writer for the short-lived Richard Pryor variety Show on NBC.Pryor was to become a key figure, friend and mentor for Ludie.
He appeared weekly as a cast member and ensemble regular in the Richard Pryor NBC Variety TV Show. And he was even given a small role in Richard Pryor’s biopic film Jo Jo Dancer.
Lou D. and I stayed in touch over many years through good and bad times. When he passed away in 2003 he was on the verge of making a strong come back in movies and television, he was back to his normal healthy size having lost a considerable amount of weight,and had landed a national television commercial for “Little Caesar’s Pizza” and was in demand for a couple of movies. Earlier roles include “The Big Hat Wearing” bartender in Mr. Big’s Lounge, in the film “I’m Gonna Get You Sucker” A Keenan Ivory Wyands movie, and in director/actor comedian, Robert Townsend’s Hollywood Shuffle a movie. In all, Ludie appeared as mostly a character actor in about a dozen or so IBMd credited films.
Lou’s narrative would make a fascinating movie he left us far too soon. He was one talented funny brother from “the hood” by the way, Lou D. despite Hollywood accolades for his comedic roles, oddly enough he loved to sing most and pursued his passion as a lifelong dream, singing before audiences.. But fate would take him instead to the big screen where he’d often conjure up laughter as a caricature of a fat man humoring largely black audiences eager for laughs and a black hero vs. a mostly white villain formula as often depicted in Blackploitation films. Character types during the 70s and 80s which black and occasionally white audiences would often laugh or smirk uncomfortably at familiar archetypes, film persona’s like the Lou Ds. known from within their own neighborhoods. In Hollywood he was known as “Big Man” and Tiny, a caricature , some called him “Fat Man” we his friends, knew him miss him and loved him as a supremely talented comedian, innovator and singer we knew as simply “Ludie ! R.I.P.
Lou D. Washington’s partial IMBD Filmography
Without You I’m Nothing
Heckler #2 (as Ludie C. Washington)
1988I’m Gonna Git You Sucka
Big Brim Bartender (as Ludie Washington)
Tiny (as Ludie Washington)
1986Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life Is Calling
Backstage Manager (as Ludie C. Washington)
1982Airplane II: The Sequel
Shuttle Ground Controller (uncredited)
1977The Richard Pryor Show (TV Series)
Various / Mexican
– Episode #1.4 (1977) … Mexican (uncredited)
– Episode #1.2 (1977) … Various (uncredited)
– Episode #1.1 (1977) … Various (uncredited)
1977The Richard Pryor Special? (TV Movie)
Writer (as Ludie Washington)
Hide Archive footage (3 credits)
2003‘Weird Al’ Yankovic: The Ultimate Video Collection (Video)
Cameraman (UHF) / Gang Member (Fat) (uncredited)
1996‘Weird Al’ Yankovic: The Videos (Video)
Cameraman (UHF) / Gang Member (Fat)
1994Alapalooza: The Videos (Video short)
Cameraman (UHF) (uncredited)