VOLUME II ISSUE I January-February 2018
As I sat in the audience at Hibernian Hall on January 14th, watching this one man performance of Thurgood, I remembered the man and civil right lawyer who became the first African American Supreme Court Justice in my time. Though I never read the biography on Thurgood Marshall, I saw him through Johnny Lee Davenport’s performance of the most brilliant, caring and strong man of the law I had seen. Davenport brought Thurgood’s life from his beginnings as a child of educated and professional parents to his retirement and subsequent death. How Thurgood was named after his grandfather Thurogood Marshall from Africa then he shortened it to Thurgood when he entered elementary school.
Davenport’s performance of Thurgood Marshall was so complete and amazing that many aspects of his life came to light for me. He spoke of his dad taking him to court proceedings where at an early age he began his legal education. Thurgood memorized the constitution as punishment when he got into mischief in school. In Davenport’s performance as Marshall he often referred back to the Constitution where all laws of this country originate for all and which for 27 years was his legal guide.
Thurgood Marshall was married twice, to Buster from 1929 until her death in 1955 and he remarried to Cecilia in 1955 to his death in 1993. That marriage produced two sons, Thurgood, Jr. and John.
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf
The life a black woman in this day and time was front and center as I watched 7 seven amazing sisters in “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.” The issues addressed in this production spokes about life and all that comes with it, sometimes on a daily basis. High School graduation, dancing and transformation to adulthood and all that comes with it.
The color of each performers dress I felt was very telling. Date rape, graduation party, black romantic relationships, sexual freedom the themes that were intertwined all through the production. The loss of children through abuse: How music was used as an additional character as well as self-expression. Music was also used as a form of release from difficulties.
There were many stages in the lives of these women in “for colored girls.” I’ve watched each stage emerge and materialize, some fun, some heartbreaking and some painful. Graduation is the right of passage. Abuse, domestic violence, racism, crowed cities with leering looks from men cause alienation and loneliness. This has a strong impact on their lives, with the need to be loved and how it’s received as well as perceived, who gives it and how its given. Friendships that turn into sisterhood and mentorships. “For colored girls” brings adolescence to full circle to womanhood with many stages in between. Many of these stages bring pain and also pleasure that can be hard to compartmentalize.
“For colored girls” with so many life issues that are more prevalent such as Lady In Yellow who contracted HIV from her man who said she cheated on him while he was in jail, though she was totally faithful. Then there is pain of the loss of a child. Beau, Crystals man, veteran and drug addict always said he would get clean if she would marry him which never happened. She tried to leave him and always found her. (Beau was very violent due to his PTSD from being in the Viet Nam war and his drug use. He always told Crystal he would get help and did okay for awhile and then relapsed). This scene Beau again asked Crystal to marry him with their children in his hands. To save her children Crystal said has to Beau’s question and as she whispered yes he dropped their children out the window to their death. The pain of losing a child. Lady in Red & Orange portrays and expressed this pain.
To me the most intriguing performance was the Lady in Green by the value she has in herself which she expounds on as “my stuff.” Her stuff is how she sits with her delicate legs sometimes open. Her fingernails chewed and her voice when she talks is rhythmic and has a flirtatious whimsical kiss and how a man took her stuff because she made to much room for him in her life.
SHAUN KING TALKS @ NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
February 9th I heard the most profound message of change from a young black man who gave me pause to think and get clear on our country as well as those we elect to work on our behalf. Shaun King touched on many issues affecting communities of color, from police brutality, injustice, healthcare, how money is allocated, (budget), gentrification the need for jobs and those who work in communities of color, college tuition in this country and also touched on the opening of the movie Black Panther. In the Black Panther movie, it speaks to the magnificent, untouched beauty and unknown knowledge of an uncolonized African country Wakanda.
Shaun King elaborated on police brutality and injustice being pivotal moving from crisis to crisis for the last 4 years. This also includes corruption and bigotry. It’s like our house is on fire and there is not a strong plan for change. Criminal justice can only happen on the local not federal level because the system works on city and state not the federal level. King has seen that around the country that we as a people must be the agents of change. On the ground level we need to get local government seats because as of now “it’s a hot mess’: especially so for the democratic party that so many folks of color support.
Our federal budget doesn’t reflect the priorities of the people. Imagine this, a defense budget of a trillion dollars, the highest of 13 countries combined. In most countries around the globe college and healthcare are free, but we are told we can’t afford free but we have a trillion, dollar defense budget.
Shaun King said when he lived in Irvine, CA for the first two and a half months he never saw a police car. This speaks of how white people define safety for their cities and how its defined differently for non-white cities. I found that to be quite phenomenal. He was amazed at the schools, good paying jobs, hospitals, doctors, farmer’s markets, groceries store, on every corner and parks, all these things that build safety. Whereas cities like Boston and Brooklyn are not safe because we have underdeveloped health, food and economic systems. The Band-Aid placed on the problem is to send in more police.
SUNDAY, JULY 22, 2018
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