Film Festival DuBois Co-Founded on Now in LA
By DONNA BALANCIA
Ja’Net DuBois, the gorgeous singer-songwriter and actress known for a range of work including the popular 1970s TV show “Good Times,” passed away at her home in Glendale on Monday, it was announced.
While her acting work was a calling card, she had a talent for music, releasing innovative and heartfelt music. DuBois co-wrote and sang “Movin’ on Up” the theme song for the TV show “The Jeffersons.”
DuBois, whose real name is Jeannette Dubois, was also a co-founder of the Pan African Film Festival, taking place in Los Angeles.
“We are shocked and stunned by the passing of one of the founders of the Pan African Film and Arts Festival, and one of the most important shining and guiding lights,” said festival co-founders Danny Glover and Ayuko Babu. “Our sister, Ja’Net DuBois epitomized a true, conscious Pan African artist who mastered the ability to be idealistic and practical at the same time. It’s rare to find a person — let alone an artist — who strikes a wonderful balance.”
The 28th annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival is taking place through February 23 at the Cinemark 15 Theatres, located at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in Los Angeles.
DuBois starred as the Evans’ family next door neighbor Willona Woods for five years on “Good Times. She was known for her vivacious entrances through the Evans’ apartment door, always well-dressed and bringing a new addition to the main storyline.
DuBois said she approached Norman Lear the producer of “Good Times” to “do something more” than just appear for her weekly entrance as the nosey neighbor on the show. She told him she was also a songwriter and Lear told her to write a theme song for a new show he was producing that features “a man with a cleaners.”
She said she told her mother in New York: “‘I think I blew it I don’t know if I can do what I told Norman I could do,” she said on Pop Goes The Culture TV. “She said ‘What was your dream all your life?’ My dream was to move my mom away from Brooklyn where I lived. I wanted to move to the East Side. I said ‘One of these days I want to make it.’ My mom said, ‘What did you always say to me?’ I said ‘I was going to make a difference, change a life.’ ‘She said ‘Write that.’ I wrote that and brought it in.
“I brought it in and Norman said ‘Who told you about the story?'” she recalled.
She sang the song in different styles before the producers settled on the famous version.
The next thing she knew the song was on the show and basically everywhere, DuBois said.
“I call myself ‘The One-Song Chick,” she joked, because she sang that song everywhere and for a lot of people, including her church. “The song is famous and the reason is it’s famous is, it was my dream.”
DuBois won two Emmy Awards for her voiceover work on the animated show “The PJs” and was an NAACP Image Award nominee for an appearance on the show “Touched by an Angel.”
She also appeared in the sitcoms “Sanford and Son,” “Everybody Loves Raymond and “A Different World” as well as the feature film “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.”
See every Willona entrance posted by Chef Tripper:
ReelBlack TV posted a video to YouTube depicting the cover of DuBois’ self-titled LP and a single she wrote called “Queen of the Highway,” which you can watch and listen to here: