Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sam Gilliam Honored by CBCF

WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF) and the Congressional Black Caucus Spouses will recognize the contributions of two outstanding individuals in the visual and performing arts, as well as students pursuing careers and opportunities in those areas from 8:00 -10:00 p.m., during the 13th Annual Celebration of Leadership in the Fine Arts on September 23 at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
This year's honorees are Sam Gilliam, internationally celebrated as the leading contemporary African-American color field painter and lyrical abstractionist, and Tyler Perry, the American playwright, screenwriter, actor, director and producer of numerous successful films and stage plays.
The Celebration of Leadership program will kick off the Spouses' activities as part of the CBCF's 39th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. More than 18,000 people are expected to attend the four-day conference.
Since the early sixties, Mr. Gilliam has been recognized as an original and innovative color field painter. His works have been in the public collections of major museums including Art Institute of Chicago, Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From his first stirring play, "I Know I've Been Changed," to his latest blockbuster film "I Can Do Bad All By Myself," Mr. Perry's sense of humor, combined with a message of redemption and hope, have made him one of the most sought after Hollywood entities.
More than 300 performing and visual arts students applied for this national scholarship program - a 100 percent increase from last year. Twenty students will receive scholarships. "The increase in scholarship applications indicates the importance of the arts programs in schools," said Simone-Marie Meeks, CBC Spouse chair. "The Spouses recognize that students should have a full realm of academic challenges as well as opportunities to explore the fine arts."
For more information about ALC09 or Celebration of Leadership In The Fine Arts ticket information, visit or call (202)263-2869.
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Inc., was established in 1976 as a nonpartisan, nonprofit, public policy, research and education institute to help improve the socioeconomic circumstances of African Americans and other underserved communities.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sag Harbor

I was out of work sick yesterday, suffering from allergies, which gave me the perfect opportunity to finish Colson Whitehead's Sag Harbor. I highly recommend this book. It brought back so many memories of growing up in the 1980s, growing into my own skin and trying to figure out what type of man I would become as an adult. Loved it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tyler Perry: For Colored Girls?

By Thembi Ford
Getting his hot little hands on Ntozake Shange’s 1975 play “For Colored Girls who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf," was coup of the year for Tyler Perry. Not only will he produce and direct the upcoming film version, the King of Coonery will also write the adaptation of what may be the most important work about black female identity ever. Ask any black woman, especially the artsy/moody/self-aware type, about “For Colored Girls…” and she will respond with a wistful look and fond memories.
I was Lady in Blue in a high school production and have told more than one sorry dude “insteada being sorry all the time, try being yourself,” quoting the Lady In Red (but playing it off like I came up with it on my own). This is classic material and now we can expect the intentionally stripped-down aesthetic of Shange’s work to be replaced by style choices that only a closeted gay man could make. Even worse, Perry has announced that he’d like to cast the likes of Oprah, Halle Berry, and Beyoncé to tackle the play’s issues, which include love, rape, abortion, and relationships. Beyoncé??? Please pass the Xanax.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

I Can Watch Movies All By Myself

Recently I was in a group of people my age, young African American professionals, and everyone seemed to be excited about the new Tyler Perry movie, I Can Do Bad All By Myself. Hmmm. . . I didn't say anything, but I wasn't excited at all. I will probably eventually see the movie on DVD, or my sister's bootlegged copy, but I am not a huge fan of Perry's movies or TV shows. I honestly had never even heard of Perry or Madea, until I moved back to Chattanooga and one of his plays came to town. I thought everyone was talking about Medea, and was trying to figure out when did so many Black folks get into Greek Tragedies. Feeling uneasy about Perry's productions is almost like being in the closet -- some people question your blackness if you're not a fan, but for me his productions are not challenging, or thought provoking AT ALL.

Anyway, I respect Perry for what he has been able to accomplish, and for the fact that he pursued his dream relentlessley until it was in his grasp.

Many people discuss his productions as worthwhile, because there are so "few black movies out there." But I can think of many. For example, what do you think about the movies on this list: 100 Best Black Movies Ever from the Hudlin Entertainment website?

1. “Do the Right Thing” (1989; directed by Spike Lee; with Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Spike Lee, Robin Harris)

2. “The Color Purple” (1985; Steven Spielberg; Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover, Oprah Winfrey)

3. “Claudine” (1974; John Berry; Diahann Carroll, James Earl Jones)

4. “Malcolm X” (1992; Spike Lee; Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett)5. “Sounder” (1972; Martin Ritt; Cicely Tyson, Paul Winfield, Kevin Hooks)

6. “Carmen Jones” (1954; Otto Preminger; Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, Pearl Bailey, Diahann Carroll)

7. “Super Fly” (1972; Gordon Parks Jr.; Ron O’Neal, Carl Lee)

8. “Cooley High” (1975; Michael Schultz; Glynn Thurman, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, Garrett Morris)

9. “Hoop Dreams” (1995; Steve James; William Gates, Arthur Agee)

10. “Coming to America” (1988; John Landis; Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones)

11. “Ray” (2005; Taylor Hackford; Jamie Foxx, Regina King)

12. “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman” (1974; John Korty; Cicely Tyson)

13. “Bamboozled” (2000; Spike Lee; Damon Wayans, Savion Glover, Jada Pinkett Smith)

14. “Cotton Comes to Harlem” (1970; Ossie Davis; Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques)15.“Richard Pryor: Live in Concert” (1979; Jeff Margolis)

16. “Shaft” (1971; Gordon Parks; Richard Roundtree, Moses Gunn)

17. “Dreamgirls” (2006; Bill Condon; Jamie Foxx, Beyonce Knowles, Eddie Murphy, Jennifer Hudson)

18. “Friday” (1995; F. Gary Gray; Ice Cube, Chris Tucker)

19. “Baby Boy” (2001; John Singleton; Tyrese Gibson, Taraji P. Henson, Snoop Dogg)

20. “A Raisin in the Sun” (1961; Daniel Petrie; Sidney Poitier, Claudia McNeil, Ruby Dee)

21. “The Five Heartbeats” (1991; Robert Townsend; Robert Townsend, Michael Wright, Leon)22. “Watermelon Man” (1970; Melvin Van Peebles; Godfrey Cambridge)

23. “City of God” (2002; Fernando Meirelles and Katia Lund; Alexandre Rodrigues)

24. “Glory” (1989; Edward Zwick; Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, Andre Braugher)

25. “Menace II Society” (1993; Allen and Albert Hughes; Tyrin Turner, Lorenz Tate, Jada Pinkett Smith)

26. “Tsotsi” (2005; Gavin Hood; Presley Chweneyagae, Terry Pheto)

27. “The Emperor Jones” (1933; Dudley Murphy; Paul Robeson)

28. “Eve’s Bayou” (1997; Kasi Lemmons; Samuel L. Jackson, Debbi Morgan, Vondie Curtis-Hall)29. “Lilies of the Field” (1963; Ralph Nelson; Sidney Poitier)

30. “Soul Food” (1997; George Tillman Jr.; Vanessa Williams, Vivica A. Fox, Mekhi Phifer)

31. “Black Caesar” (1973; Larry Cohen; Fred Williamson, Gloria Hendry)

32. “Boyz N the Hood” (1991; John Singleton; Laurence Fishburne, Cuba Gooding Jr., Ice Cube)33. “She’s Gotta Have It” (1986; Spike Lee; Tracy Camilla Johns, Spike Lee, Tommy Redmond Hicks)

34. “Island in the Sun” (1957; Robert Rossen; Harry Belafonte, Dorothy Dandridge)

35. “In the Heat of the Night” (1967; Norman Jewison; Sidney Poitier)

36. “Lady Sings the Blues” (1972; Sidney J. Furie; Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, Richard Pryor)37. “When We Were Kings” (1996; Leon Gast; Muhammad Ali, George Foreman)

38. “Love & Basketball” (2000; Gina Prince-Bythewood; Omar Epps, Sanaa Lathan)

39. “What’s Love Got to Do With It” (1993; Brian Gibson; Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne)40. “The Mack” (1973; Michael Campus; Max Julien, Don Gordon, Richard Pryor)

41. “To Sleep With Anger” (1990; Charles Burnett; Danny Glover, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Mary Alice)42. “The Exile” (1931; Oscar Micheaux; Eunice Brooks, Stanley Morrell)

43. “Set It Off” (1997; F. Gary Gray; Jada Pinkett Smith, Queen Latifah, Vivica A. Fox)

44. “Sweet Sweetback …” (1971; Melvin Van Peebles; Melvin Van Peebles, Mario Van Peebles)45. “Waiting to Exhale” (1995; Forest Whitaker; Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine)

46. “Nothing But a Man” (1964; Michael Roemer; Ivan Dixon, Abbey Lincoln)

47. “Blade” (1998; Stephen Norrington; Wesley Snipes, N’Bushe Wright)

48. “Devil in a Blue Dress” (1995; Carl Franklin; Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle)

49. “Sonkofa” (1993; Haile Gerima; Kofi Ghanaba)

50. “Love Jones” (1997; Theodore Witcher; Nia Long, Lorenz Tate, Isaiah Washington)

51. “A Rage in Harlem” (1991; Bill Duke; Forest Whitaker, Gregory Hines)

52. “A Soldier’s Story” (1984; Norman Jewison; Howard E. Rollins Jr., Adolph Caesar, Denzel Washington)

53. “Dead Presidents” (1995; Albert and Allen Hughes; Larenz Tate, Keith David, Chris Tucker)54. “Hollywood Shuffle” (1987; Robert Townsend; Robert Townsend, Anne-Marie Johnson, Keenen Ivory Wayans)

55. “Car Wash” (1976; Michael Schultz; Richard Pryor, Bill Duke, Franklin Ajaye)

56. “The Learning Tree” (1969; Gordon Parks; Kyle Johnson, Alex Clarke, Estelle Evans)

57. “Stormy Weather” (1943; Andrew L. Stone; Bill Robinson, Lena Horne)

58. “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” (1988; Keenen Ivory Wayans; Keenen Ivory Wayans, Jim Brown, Bernie Casey)

59. “Cabin in the Sky” (1943; Vincente Minnelli; Lena Horne, Louis Armstrong)

60. “Wattstax” (1973; Mel Stuart; Isaac Hayes, Richard Pryor, Albert King)

61. “Rosewood” (1997; John Singleton; Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Esther Rolle)

62. “To Sir, With Love” (1967; James Clavell; Sidney Poitier)

63. “New Jack City” (1991; Mario Van Peebles: Wesley Snipes, Ice-T)

64. “House Party” (1990; Reginald Hudlin; Christopher Reid, Christopher Martin, Robin Harris)65. “The Green Pastures” (1936; Marc Connelly and William Keighley; Eddie “Rochester ” Anderson, Rex Ingram)

66. “Hotel Rwanda” (2004; Terry George; Don Cheadle, Sophie Okenedo)

67. “Home of the Brave” (1949; Mark Robson; James Edwards)

68. “Lean on Me” (1989; John G. Avildsen; Morgan Freeman, Robert Guillaume)

69. “Hallelujah!” (1929; King Vidor; Daniel L. Haynes, Nina Mae McKinney)

70. “The River Niger” (1976; Krishna Shah; Cicley Tyson, James Earl Jones, Lou Gossett Jr.)

71. “Purple Rain” (1984; Albert Magnoli; Prince, Morris Day, Apollonia Kotero)

72. “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” (1999; Martha Coolidge; Halle Berry)

73. “Krush Groove” (1985; Michael Schultz; Blair Underwood, Sheila E.)

74. “Coffy” (1973; Jack Hill; Pam Grier)

75. “Sugar Cane Alley” (1983; Euzhan Palcy; Garry Cadenat)

76.“When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Parts” (2006; Spike Lee; Ray Nagin, Terence Blanchard, Harry Belafonte)

77. “Cornbread, Earl and Me” (1975; Joe Manduke; Jamal Wilkes, Moses Gunn, Laurence Fishburne)

78. “Juice” (1992; Ernest R. Dickerson; Tupac Shakur, Omar Epps, Queen Latifah)

79. “Uptown Saturday Night” (1974; Sidney Poitier; Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby, Harry Belafonte)80. “Jungle Fever” (1991; Spike Lee; Samuel L. Jackson, Wesley Snipes, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee)81. “Killer of Sheep” (1977; Charles Burnett; Henry G. Sanders)

82. “The Cool World” (1963; Shirley Clarke; Rony Clayton)

83. “Buck and the Preacher” (1972; Sidney Poitier; Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte)

84. “Putney Swope” (1969; Robert Downey Sr.; Arnold Johnson)

85. “Paris is Burning” (1991; Jennie Livingston; Paris Dupree)

86. “The Harder They Come” (1973; Perry Henzell; Jimmy Cliff)

87. “Daughters of the Dust” (1991; Julie Dash; Cora Lee Day, Alva Rogers)

88. “The Spook Who Sat by the Door” (1973; Ivan Dixon; Lawrence Cook)

89. “CSA: The Confederate States of America” (2004; Kevin Willmott; William Willmott)

90. “Fresh” (1994; Boaz Yakin; Sean Nelson, Giancarlo Esposito, Samuel L. Jackson)

91. “Miracle in Harlem” (1948; Jack Kemp: Stepin Fetchit, Sheila Guyse)

92. “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” (1967; Stanley Kramer; Sidney Poitier, Beah Richards)

93. “Hustle & Flow” (2005; Craig Brewer; Terrence Howard, Taraji P. Henson, Anthony Anderson)

94. “Cry Freedom” (1987; Richard Attenborough; Denzel Washington)

95. “Akeelah and the Bee” (2006; Doug Atchison; Keke Palmer, Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett)

96. “Wild Style” (1982; Charlie Ahearn; Fab Five Freddy, Grandmaster Flash)

97. “Aaron Loves Angela” (1975; Gordon Parks Jr.; Kevin Hooks, Irene Cara)

98. “Sparkle” (1976; Sam O’Steen; Phillip Michael Thomas, Irene Cara, Lonette McKee )

99. “Undercover Brother” (2002; Malcolm D. Lee; Eddie Griffin, Dave Chappelle, Billy Dee Williams)

100. “Imitation of Life” (1959; Douglas Sirk; Mahalia Jackson)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Corey Barksdale Mural Painting

Is There An Arts Management Crisis?

by Janet Brown
Recently, I attended a meeting of Seattle-based funders and Kennedy Center President Michael Kaiser. One of Kaiser’s points as he travels around the country on an “Arts in Crisis” tour, is the need for greater competency in management of nonprofit arts organization. His point that we spend a great deal of resources training artists in this country but very little on the training of managers rang pretty true to me.
Having spent much of my career as a technical assistance provider focusing on professional development and in higher education as the chair of a department of fine arts and adjunct faculty for a masters of arts in arts administration program, I’ve long believed that more training opportunities for managers would benefit the field greatly. Even in the largest cities, arts administrators find themselves isolated in their work. Many don’t seek assistance because asking for help reflects poorly on their organization and themselves professionally.
And there’s the time and cost factor. Who has time to go to classes, conferences, and mentor breakfasts while they are trying to run an organization that is understaffed? For most organizations, the professional development line in their budget is the first thing to go. Even restricting travel costs means managers are unable to attend convenings where educational and mentorship opportunities are available. There is a need for consistent, meaningful training opportunities for nonprofit arts managers that are easily assessable and relatively inexpensive.
Over the years, there has been an explosion of arts administration programs in academia. They have had mixed reviews by the field. In my experience, many programs suffer from the “ivory tower syndrome” with faculty that have never operated successful organizations, faced the issues of boards of directors, facility management, artistic directors, community involvement and funding cycles. On-line programs or programs in large cities that pull adjunct faculty from the field seem to be offer some hope for academia to offer practical training. But, it seems that on-the-job training continues to the most likely hope in developing competent, knowledgeable managers.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Mouse House

I am always interested in how people actually live with thier art collections. This is a recent article from about collectors and their small space (500 SF, which makes even my house seem large).

GREENWICH, Conn. — Apartment dwellers who worry that they don’t have enough room to display art should take a trip to “The Mouse House: Art From the Collection of Olga Hirshhorn,” at the Bruce Museum here. Ms. Hirshhorn managed to pack some 200 works of art into a tiny one-bedroom apartment in Washington.
Of course, it isn’t her primary residence. Ms. Hirshhorn and her husband, Joseph, whose collection is now housed on the National Mall as the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, had art-filled homes in other cities. But after Mr. Hirshhorn died in 1981, she wanted a cozy pied-à-terre as a base for frequent visits to friends in the capital.
The Mouse House began life as a garage built for one of the earliest electric cars. It was part of Argyle House, a Beaux-Arts mansion on Embassy Row. (A stone sculpture of a cat on the mansion’s roof was the inspiration for the smaller house’s nickname.)
Converted by the architect Richard Ridley into a 500-square-foot triplex full of nooks and crannies, the Mouse House, as Ms. Hirshhorn calls it, proved to be an ideal backdrop for the small sculptures, drawings and decorative objects acquired by the Hirshhorns over the years.
Many hold personal as well as aesthetic value. Among the contents are drawings inscribed to Ms. Hirshhorn by de Kooning and Picasso, and minuscule Calders and Giacomettis obtained while socializing with the artists in Paris and on the Riviera.

Read the Rest of the Story Here.

Happy Labor Day!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mickalene Thomas

This summer I visited the Art Institute of Chicago and one of my favorite pieces in the new contemporary wing was a photograph by Mickalene Thomas. Check out this interview with her from NYArts.
Leah Oates: Every artist has a different path to becoming an artist. What was your path?

Mickalene Thomas: When I was in middle school I attended an after-school program at the Newark Museum in New Jersey. But during high school my interests naturally shifted and I became seriously into cross-country and track and field. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties, while living in Portland, Oregon, that I began to develop the desire to make art. I was a product of my environment, heavily influenced and inspired by my friends—mostly artists and musicians—like Patrick Abbey, a painter; Thomas Lauderdale, a musician and lead of Pink Martini; and Chris Stark, a photographer. In 1994, the Portland State University hosted a solo exhibition of Carrie Mae Weems’s work and I was blown away. It was the first work I had seen by an African-American woman artist and I visited the show again at least ten times. Although so much talent surrounded me, I didn’t truly pursue art until after I spent a weekend at an art therapy retreat. Shortly thereafter, I made several works on paper and later applied to Pratt Institute and San Francisco Art Institute with the encouragement of my friend, Chris. I ended up attending Pratt for my undergraduate studies and later went to Yale for my MFA.
LO: How do you conceptualize your images and what is your working process?

MT: Believe it or not, some of my best ideas come to me in my dreams. It’s wild, in my dreams the concepts are so tangible that when I wake up I have to make it real. Other times, my work comes from the desire to dissect and understand my own journey. Sometimes it’s as simple as holding the mirror up to my face and looking deep into myself every day. There’s what you see in the mirror and what you project when you’re out in the world. I’m trying to connect the two in my work. When I decide on an idea or new body of work, I begin to research ways of executing my idea literally and theoretically. A lot of what I do formally in my work is driven by the idea of artifice, of what’s real and not real, and how we perceive the difference. Once it’s narrowed down to a particular time or space, I build up the installation in my studio and then I open it up to auditioning women. Thus, the work begins. From the session with the models, I choose several photographs to recompose as collages, from which I base my paintings.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Ebony Fashion Fair, Fades to Black

Mina Dia-Stevens recalls looking around the auditorium of an Ebony Fashion Fair show as a young adult and knowing that there were other African American fashionistas out there, from a cluster of giddy sorority college girls to a group of churchgoing women.
"They are exposing African Americans to world-renowned designers that they may not have known otherwise," said Dia-Stevens, who is an adjunct professor at Moore College of Art and Design and an associate professor at the Art Institute of Philadelphia.
And it's coming to an end, at least for now.
After more than 50 years of showcasing the highest caliber of fashion in the industry to mostly African American audiences, organizers of the traveling international fashion show have canceled its fall 2009 installment.
The Philadelphia Cultural Committee Inc., the nonprofit organization that has hosted the program annually in Philadelphia or New Jersey for 50 years, is among 180 organizations that will not put on a show this fall.
"The overall economic climate has presented challenges for many, including our potential corporate sponsors," said Linda Johnson Rice, the chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson Publishing Co., in a statement.
The firm, which publishes Ebony and Jet magazines, hopes to bring back a retooled show starting in fall 2010.
"In the coming months, we will develop a new business model to ensure that the show is a mutually beneficial endeavor," said Rice.
As a nonprofit endeavor, the Ebony Fashion Fair show has raised more than $55 million to benefit largely African American groups nationwide, according to Jeanine Collins, a spokeswoman for Johnson Publishing.
The Philadelphia Cultural Committee uses part of its $15,000 to $20,000 in proceeds to give scholarships to college-bound high school students who are interested in the arts.
Each year it gives $1,000 to five or six students who are pursuing higher education in New Jersey, Philadelphia, or Delaware. The remaining money goes to local charities.
"If we do not have the Ebony Fashion Fair show, it's going to be a deterrent to giving scholarships," said Gwendolyn A. Faison, president of the Philadelphia Cultural Committee.
Faison said the committee is meeting to discuss alternative fund-raising.
Over 4,000 shows have been performed to date in the United States, the Caribbean, and London, according to a representative from the publishing company.
The featured clothing includes cutting-edge couture fresh off the runways of Fashion Week as well as ready-to-wear "extravagant" pieces, said Cheryl Washington, a fashion designer and an adjunct professor at Moore College of Art and Design.
"It is a multitude of talent from all over the world," she said.
The show has exhibited the work of several notable African American designers, including Stephen Burrows, James Daugherty, L'Amour, B. Michael, and Quinton de' Alexander.
It was started in 1956 to support the Women's Auxiliary of Flint-Goodrich Hospital in New Orleans by John Johnson, then publisher and CEO of Johnson Publishing.
But Dia-Stevens says the show is more than just a few models strutting the latest fashions on the runway.
"When you see the show, it's like a performance - it's ambience, it's atmosphere," she said. "It is more theatrical than it is anything."
Thinking of her 14-year-old daughter, Dia-Stevens hopes to keep her family's appreciation for fashion alive.
"It is a special event that I would definitely want to experience with my daughter," she said.
Contact staff writer Naomi Nix
at 215-854-2797 or

Celebrate the Arts in the MLK Neighborhood!

Collaborations: Artist Talk


From the Chicago Tribune
Earlier this year, I wrote a story about the increasing number of white professors teaching African-American studies. At the center of the discussion was/is authenticity and whether white people can teach in a discipline that requires such an immersion into black culture. A story by the Los Angeles Times asks essentially this same question about playwrights. Should white playwrights direct plays about black folk? The story goes on to ask: Should black, Asian, Hispanic playwrights direct plays about white folk?
This is a controversy that has been brewing in the American theater world since this spring when a white director was tapped to stage a revival of August Wilson's "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," which opened on Broadway.
According to the L. A. Times story:
“The American theater has been engaged in a racially charged discussion of who should direct what. Should white artists direct plays that are black in authorship and subject? And by extension, should black -- and Latino, Asian, mixed-race and other -- directors be hired to stage plays written by white authors? Such are the questions being posed.
"I don't think there is a simple and satisfactory answer," says black playwright Lynn Nottage, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning drama "Ruined." "This conversation is part of our cultural growing pains, and it's one of the many steps in the road to defining our creative and cultural identity."
The controversy was ignited when Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher was tapped to helm the Wilson revival. Wilson, who died in 2005, had insisted that only black directors stage his work. But his widow, Constanza Romero, approved the choice of Sher, who is white. This production marked the first time a Wilson play had been directed by a white director on Broadway. And black artists have voiced concern about the precedent.”
Part of the concern for some black artists is that this only further limits their opportunities, which already are few and far between. There was a similar sentiment shared by a few African-American studies professors, lamenting the limited number of slots for professors on college campuses So here’s the question: Does one have to live a certain experience in order to be the best at putting it on stage? Or is an intense love of the subject (and the craft) enough to make it authentic?
(As a novelist, I would hate to be limited only to writing about and creating black characters.)