“Avery Clayton and his mother Mayme Clayton (founder of Black Talkies on Parade and the Western States Black Research Center) were truly inspirational. Mayme, in the seventies till her death in ‘08 worked arduously to maintain a Black library and her son Avery Clayton was her right hand person.
At each event they produced (and there were countless) such as the Phoenix Awards (several of which were produced by my husband J.D. Hall including the Dorothy Dandridge tribute) or the many film fests that highlighted vintage Black films at the Black Talkies on Parade, Avery Clayton’s incredible art work depicting historic figures from politics and entertainment would be on display. At these events, I was also very happy to assist with publicity and secured celebrity participants such as Ted Lange and Billy Dee Williams.
In 1986 when I produced George Bernard Shaw’s Caesar and Cleopatra for the Inglewood City Parks Playhouse co-produced by Cepheus Jaxson, Avery Clayton was inspired to add me to his prestigious list of subjects and painted me as a Cleopatra of color and displayed it at many of his gallery showings including the Black History Museum. Today that portrait hangs in my home. From that time since, I was coined as Kleopatra Girl and that reputation continues to exist in my Kleopatra Girl’s Ringside column in the EURweb.com founded by Lee Bailey.
I will miss you Avery. I see your art each and every day (Dorothy Dandridge “Everything but nothing” in addition to my Cleopatra portrait) in my home. May you rest with your mom who you loved so much. Farewell.” –Eugenia Wright