I, Too: Voices of Change
I Too: Voices is a rotating, curated selection of work that affirms the Road‘s commitment to uplift, support and amplify BIPOC artists affiliated with the Road. We will continually update the work featured here, so check back often!
THIS WEEK: “I, Too” by Langston Hughes
Directed & Performed by Moe Irvin
“I, Too” is a poem written by Langston Hughes that demonstrates a yearning for equality through perseverance while disproving the idea that patriotism is limited by race. It was first published in March 1925 in a special issue of the magazine Survey Graphic, titled Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro. It was later reprinted in Hughes’ first volume of poetry, The Weary Blues in 1926. This poem, along with other works by Hughes, helped define the Harlem Renaissance, a period in the early 1920s and ’30s of newfound cultural identity for blacks in America who had discovered the power of literature, art, music, and poetry as a means of personal and collective expression in the scope of civil rights. In the poem, Hughes describes a ubiquitous racial oppression that degrades African Americans at the time. He writes from the perspective of an inferior servant to a domineering white family that shoos him away to the kitchen whenever company arrives.
Hughes ties together the sense of the unity that U.S. President Abraham Lincoln spoke about regarding the separate and diverse parts of the American democracy (the coexistence of slavery and freedom) by referencing Whitman’s poem “I Sing the Body Electric”, which includes the line “I hear America singing”
An Essay Written & Performed by Kermit Frazier
Directed by Gregg Daniels
First Published By Consequence Magazine
Kermit Frazier recounts his “in broad daylight” experience with Law Enforcement through his essay, “Ignobled in Indianapolis,” originally published online in Consequence Magazine in July, 2020.
ANTHEM is a Call to Action. A song that came from anger, frustration, honesty, pain and Exhaustion…countless murders, countless unjustified murders taking place across this country, disproportionately Black and Brown Men and Black Trans Women. ANTHEM is to remind the people. That we hold an immense amount of power…and in community..when we are activated. We can do the impossible. We can change the government, we can change this country.
The Summer of 2020 felt like a maelstrom of incidents of racial prejudice and cultural insensitivity taken to the nth degree. What I experienced psychically and emotionally from the world and in more immediate, personal interactions left me with feelings of frustration and rage I had never before experienced. It also left me spent. Done and done. I just needed to take a step back from it, knowing full well that it was only just beginning. This was my response
Originating as a stage bound Road Theatre Company theatrical laboratory solo artist project and morphing into a film, conceived and directed by Allan Wasserman, and written by and starring Merrick McCartha, IRA ALDRIDGE is the amazing true story of a black American actor from New York City in the 1800’s who immigrated to Europe and overcame racism in the Shakespearian theater community and achieved worldwide fame….including becoming the first black man to perform Othello on a London stage.
Early in life, Ira learned how the impact of theater shaped societal norms. He also learned that black actors were not allowed to play major roles in major theaters. His struggles to overcome this lead him to the theater community in Great Britain, where he finds love and perseveres through racism to become the most famous actor of his time.
Frederick Douglass’s words from his 1888 speech in Washington DC to the First International Women’s Council. It’s as if the past is reaching through time speaking to all fighting for equality now.
Actor John Wesley was a fantastic actor with great stories – always passionate of his work. His wish was to play this role, but he sadly passed away before Covid.
Directed by Avery Clyde
Produced by Avery Clyde & Rob Clyde
Edited by @matthewEvansJones
Director of Photography@WeyW
Thanks to all who selflessly contributed to this project; including lots of phenomenal men.
The official video for “Rally Call” by Monique DeBose.
Listen / Save “Rally Call” here – https://ffm.to/rallycall
Video by Wizard X, Monique DeBose and Hannah Randle
Camerawork and editing by Wizard X
Production Company: MdB Productions