The following is an excerpt from ” ‘An Octoroon’ is a Thought Provoking Twist on Slave Narratives,” my ByBlacks.com review of Branden Jacobs-Jenkins play within a play. (Photo of André Sills by David Cooper, courtesy of the Shaw Festival)
“An Octoroon feels blatantly absurd, but then again so is institutionalized racism and slavery. With that underlying premise, the show goes on with a play so memorable, it sits on your psyche, ruminating and revealing itself, at times abruptly, even days after you’ve seen it… (Sills) dons whiteface to play two slave owners—George and M’Closky—eventually acting in both roles at once.”
Read the full review here.
The following are excerpts from “CaribbeanTales Film Festival Explores the Complexity of Identity With ‘Legacies of Race’ Night,” my review of two films, published in ByBlacks.com. The films, Short Drop and Before The Trees Was Strange, offer glimpses into life in the Caribbean that often go unseen.
“Short Drop offers a slice of island life, without romanticizing the Caribbean for the consumption of would-be tourists… The film reminds us to care about our neighbours and to value the people who come into our lives, however fleeting their time with us may be.”
“Highlights from Before The Trees Was Strange include film footage shot over 30 years and spoken word poetry that capture the impact of slavery’s erasure of black history and the social pressure to self-identify as white. The film underlines how the one-drop rule that defines blackness in the U.S. is not universal, and that the colour of one’s skin and the features of one’s face are not a direct map to family origins.”
Read the full film reviews here.
In Toronto, where more than half of the population was born outside of Canada, being asked “where are you from?” is a common question. Typically, off the dance floor, I’m mistaken for being from Jamaica. Yet, on the dance floor, I’m mistaken for being from Cuba, Angola or the Dominican Republic.
My latest blog post for AfroLatino Dance Company focusses on how my dance skills have altered people’s perception of my origins: I’m a proud Canadian, but My Nationality is AfroLatino.
The following is an excerpt from “Allan Louis Nails Dracula at the Shaw Festival,” my ByBlacks.com review of the Shaw Festival’s 2017 production of Liz Lochhead’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (Photo of Allan Louis as Dracula by Emily Cooper)
“In pop culture successes such as the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer, bloodsuckers come in all shades. But traditional storytelling portrays Dracula specifically as ghostly pale. For some audiences, seeing Allan Louis, a black man, in a typically white role could be merely a side note to a quality performance, but for those versed in the horror genre, it might have been revolutionary.”
Read the complete review here.
When the owner of AfroLatino Dance Company asked me to blog for her business, “yes” was my immediate response. Working with this welcoming and energetic community allows me to combine two of the activities I love best — writing and dance.
AfroLatino specializes in dances from countries such as Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Brazil and Angola. Read my very first blog post for the dance company here: Cuban Salsa Sizzles in Toronto