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An Evening with Ruth E. Carter

1hr 15mins

The Coolidge is thrilled to announce legendary costume designer Ruth E. Carter as the next recipient of The Coolidge Award.

Please join us for an onstage conversation with Carter about her life and career, moderated by GBH radio and TV host Callie Crossley. The conversation will include a tribute clip reel, and will be followed by the presentation of The Coolidge Award.


Born and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts, Ruth E. Carter is a living legend of costume design. For three decades, she has shaped the story of the Black experience on screen—from the ’80s streetwear of Do the Right Thing to the royal regalia of Coming 2 America. Her work on Marvel's Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever not only brought Afrofuturism to the mainstream, but also made her the first Black winner of an Oscar in costume design and the first Black woman to win two Academy Awards in any category. In 2021, she became the second-ever costume designer to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Over three decades in film, television, and theater, Carter has earned seventy credits and collaborated with prolific directors, including Lee, Steven Spielberg, Ava DuVernay, and Ryan Coogler. Carter’s costumes based on real and imaginative characters provide an arc to the narratives of African Americans from Do the Right Thing (1989), Malcolm X (1992), What’s Love Got to Do with It (1993), Amistad (1997), The Butler (2013), Selma (2014), Marshall (2017), Dolemite Is My Name (2019), and Coming 2 America (2021) to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her devotion to retraining the eye to see beauty through costume design and telling stories that enrich the humanity of the Black experience cements her legacy as a preeminent voice and expert on period genres and Afro aesthetics.

Carter's outstanding costume design work has been honored with Academy Award nominations for Malcolm X and Amistad and an Emmy nomination for the miniseries reboot of Roots (2016). The impact of her career in filmmaking has been recognized with the Costume Designers Guild's Career Achievement Award (2019) and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2021). She is also a member of the Board of Governors for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and author of the book “The Art of Ruth E. Carter”— a behind-the-scenes journey in creating the most iconic costumes in filmmaking.

Carter is beloved in her hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts and was given the key to the city for her achievements and service to the community (2021). She is a graduate of Hampton University, Virginia (HBCU) and most recently served as their commencement speaker and was given the distinction of honorary doctorate. She holds an additional honorary doctorate from Suffolk University, Massachusetts.


Callie Crossley is the host of the radio show and podcast Under the Radar with Callie Crossley, which airs on GBH, 89.7 FM Sundays from 6:00–7:00pm. Her award-winning radio essays air Mondays during GBH’s Morning Edition. She also hosts Basic Black on GBH-TV, which focuses on current events impacting communities of color. Crossley is a frequent commentator on local and national television and radio programs and has been quoted in a variety of publications, including The Washington Post and Vanity Fair. She was the subject of a major feature published in the August 2021 issue of Boston Magazine. 

Crossley has won multiple TV, radio, and film awards, including the prestigious Gold Baton DuPont Columbia award and an Academy Award nomination for her producer work on the documentary series Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years. She also earned top honors for both her commentary and hosting/interviewing talent, including local and national Emmys and awards from the Associated Press, RTDNA Edward R. Murrow, Clarion, and the Public Media Journalists Association.

Crossley is also a former producer for ABC News 20/20, and a former visiting fellow of the Council of Independent Colleges (formerly Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow).

She was both a Nieman Fellow and an Institute of Politics Fellow at Harvard University and was honored as a distinguished alumna of Wellesley College in 2013 and in 2017 was named to Wellesley’s Board of Trustees. Crossley holds four honorary degrees: 2005 doctorate of arts from Pine Manor College, 2009 doctorate of humane letters from Cambridge College, 2018 doctorate of humane letters from Wheaton College, and 2022 doctorate of humane letters from Tufts University.

Crossley has been recognized with many community awards, including being named one of three 2023 Distinguished Bostonians by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and named as one of four 2022 recipients of Governor’s Award from Mass Humanities.

Get Konnected named her one of 2021’s 50 Most Influential Women of Color in Boston, and in 2019 she received the Yankee Quill Award from the New England Newspaper and Press Association and the Justice in Action Award from Jane Doe Inc. In 2017m she was honored with the Open Door Award from Old South Church.

She is also featured in the 2011 book Boston’s Inspirational Women, co-authored by award-winning photographer Bill Brett, Kerry Brett, and Carol Beggy.