Music By Prudence Screening

By Solange Reyner

“Music By Prudence” won an Oscar on Sunday night. Now, you get a chance to see it in Miami Beach. The Betsy Hotel is hosting a film screening on Thursday, March 11, at 8 p.m. and director Roger Ross Williams – and the film’s star Prudence – will be in attendance.

This short documentary centers around the life of Prudence Mabhena, a 21-year-old women who grew up disabled in Zimbabwe unable to use her arms or legs. After being shifted around from family member to family member, she finally finds her way to King George VI School & Centre for Children with Physical Disabilities, where she gets a wheelchair, she goes to school, and she starts singing.

The Oscar-winning moment for the film and its director became an internet sensation with all sorts of snark directed at former Miami Herald features writer Elinor Burkett.

She was the loud redhead who pulled a Kanye West, providing the one quirky moment in an otherwise tired telecast. Those who remember Burkett from her Miami days were hardly shocked by her outburst.

There was Williams, a few words into his acceptance speech after winning Best Documentary Short. Then out of nowhere, Burkett’s butting in: “Isn’t it just like the man to never let the woman talk?”

The woman went on and on, unintelligibly, not letting the man get another word in. Burkett was one of the doc’s producers, but after a falling out over creative control, had been removed from the project, Williams told

Burkett, who after leaving The Herald went on to author several books, including a biography of Golda Meir, told that Williams’ 87-year-old mother blocked her with her cane when she got up to follow him to the stage.

Just Elli being Elli, newsroom folks agree. During her time at the paper, 1988-93, she was known for ardently taking up causes in print. AIDS, feminism, Cuba. Demure she wasn’t. One day, she sauntered into the office sporting bright red hair. A few days later it was white. Then hot pink. Then she wrote a story about how strangers and colleagues reacted to her antics.

To be at the Betsy, you have to RSVP for tickets. E-mail


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