It has been a few years since I’ve written an article for my blog, and it was not from wanting to write something or even having something to write, but rather, I have been caught up in a whirlwind of creativity. Since 2015, I have written and produced one feature film, Black Wall Street: The Money, The Music & The People (www.blackwallstreetthemovie.yolasite.com), one tv show drama, “The War at Home,” and now, this week, June 23-25, 2017, I am preparing for the opening night of my long-awaited play last performed publicly in 2012, That Color Blind Kind of Love.
I am producing and creating, so I should be used to public reveals, correct? No. I am not, especially not with this project because much is at stake. Inspired by the historic landmark case of Richard and Mildred Loving vs. Virginia (1967), this play re-examines the attitudes towards interracial relationships some 50 years later. Let’s be clear. The Loving case set a precedent for the legality of gay marriages and other interracial/intercultural marriage cases in the United States. It was cushioned historically between the Civil Rights Movement/Act and the Vietnam War. The Loving case is the great American love story: the fight for love and justice, a byproduct of slavery and its horrid judicial separation of love, race and class.
So why re-examine? And why use theatre to do it? Because there is an attempted ban on Muslims from this country. Because couples are still dating in secret because of religious or cultural/ethnical backgrounds. Because courts in the deep south are still refusing to marry interracial/mixed race couples. Because #BlackLivesMatter. Because #AllLivesMatter. Because hate of the “other” seems to now be the new norm. Or maybe it was always the norm.
Theatre exposes this kind of truth. It allows audiences to come into the “scene” and see it played out 10 feet or more from their hearts and eyes. The time is ripe for a play like this. Where the protagonist has to say out loud that “Love should be for whomever wants it,” and then try to fight her own family – her own definition of self – to get it and keep it. That’s what Mildred Loving did 50 years ago.
My cast and crew have been working on this play since the spring of 2016. We have performed staged readings around the city of Richmond, VA in churches and any place that would have a mix-raced cast bringing up old/new racial wounds in the name of love. And on June 23, 2017 @ 7p EST, we are taking our story LIVE in front of a paying theatre audience and in front of the world because we are streaming the production LIVE on Facebook.
And I am both terrified and excited because we are now bringing James Baldwin’s prophetic words to life:
“The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.”
I am an artist – a writer. But I have had to rely heavily on a team to help get the play to this moment. I have had to get a team to buy into my vision, and my team has – 100%. I have come to learn that when a thing is written, you must let it fly – let it earn its wings, and this precious piece must fly because love is at stake. #LoveMatters more than we know.
For more information on That Color Blind Kind of Love or to purchase tickets, go to www.rlpproductions.com. Follow me on social media for news on tickets for the LIVE stream. And finally, please support our $1 for Love campaign; we need your support to tell this story. The link is on the website as well.
To my cast and crew, thank you. I love you guys!