In the two years since the last presidential election, many Americans have awakened to the racism, white supremacy, and traditions of domestic terror that plague the nation. Those issues are in especially stark relief as the U.S. approaches a somber and shameful anniversary marking hundreds of years of slavery at worst and inequality at best for its black citizens.
Of course, millions of Americans have been all too aware of the limitations and dangers that exist for them as people of color, long before the unlikely election of Donald Trump was even a passing thought.
One of these people is playwright, spoken-word poet, and multihyphenate talent Marc Bamuthi Joseph, whose latest work — /peh-LO-
Much like his past work, /peh-LO-
Though those themes touch upon the issues America is reckoning with at a heightened state at the moment, Joseph wrote the play during the waning period of the Obama era, and it premiered just ten days after Trump was elected. It's a necessary reminder that Black Lives Matter arose from a critical mass of concern over police brutality toward African-Americans in particular — a problem that precedes the current administration by decades, centuries even.
Joseph says /peh-LO-
Joseph, the 43-year-old son of Haitian immigrants, is grappling with the realization that he's likely to become less of a target of profiling as he advances in age. His 17-year-old son, however, "is entering his years of being a prime suspect."
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But although tragedy and
"For me, soccer is where I locate joy in my body... And also, soccer — for so many of us around the world — is where joyful acts take place. So that's what the piece attempts to do... take these really big ideas, bring them down to the super-personal, ask really (hopefully) provocative questions, and maybe help the audience to think less in terms of racism with a capital R and more in terms of this guy and his son and the sport that he loves, living in a world that's incredibly complicated, just catching up to its own introspection of historical forces."
To that end, /peh-LO-