3 Chics thinks it is very fitting to re-introduce our community to George C. Wolfe’ 1985 play THE COLORED MUSEUM.
George Costello Wolfe (born September 23, 1954) is an American playwright and director of theater and film. He won a Tony Award in 1993 for directing Angels in America: Millennium Approaches and another Tony Award in 1996 for his direction of the musical, Bring in ‘da Noise/Bring in ‘da Funk.
The Colored Museum features eleven vignettes that satirize elements of African American culture:
- Git on Board
- Cookin’ with Aunt Ethel
- The Photo Session
- Soldier with a Secret
- The Gospel According to Miss Roj
- The Hairpiece
- The Last Mama-on-the-Couch Play
- Lala’s Opening
- The Party
Break out the pop corn and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts on the exhibits. Any favorites?
The school principal in this movie choses differently than the man in Symbiosis.
Thanks for the video. I’ll watch this and get back to you on it.
I have been considering and pondering the last stage direction in “Symbiosis” as a theme to write on.
For weeks as I have considered it, it has helped me to become more aware and sensitive to the African-American experience in the workplace, but as a White individual I do not know enough to actually write on this. I would like to see a Black person take up this theme and write an account because, then, it would have authenticity.
The last word (stage direction) in Symbiosis is “BLACKOUT.”
1. His attempt to shed his Blackness
2. His dealing with a world that wants Blacks out.
3. The audience put in the dark never knowing (stage blacked-out when or if his internal will ever end.
4. How much stress a Black can endure working in a racist atmosphere before he/she is physically affected and faints (blacks-out under the pressure)
Means loose the BLACKNESS- the culture, anything not of European origins., music, slang, language, dress, hair.
Erase it all. “I don’t see color.” White folks not comfortable with any part of black person who does not dress, talk, walk, act,like them wear their hair like them….
Oh when will it ever change?
I have been listening to “White Like Me” video (Tim Wise) today….Carmen and I might do something with his book (same title) that this is based on.
I have been ordering lots of DVD’s to create a good Black Studies library. The movie I posted above was from a DVD with 3 movies on it. “White Like Me” DVD just came in the mail yesterday.
“Symbiosi” reminds me of Don Lemon and the rest of the house negroes.
…..and what are they teaching their kids?
How many of them have forgotten about their responsibility to HOLD to the important causes of their youth?
I have begun considering the message and all the rich symbolism and agony in George C. Wolfe’s “Symboisis” vignette. This vignette requires me to take my time and do a lot of reflection before I even begin to write and post.
This vignette is a story of survival. The survival of Blacks in our White-structured society. The agonizing Black attempt to survive with life and identity intact. White power systems have always attempted to hold African Americans hostage.
Donna Summer’s first Song (“The Hostage”)
Betrayed. Even though she tried to CONFORM to the demands of those in control of the life of her husband, all she did was for naught. He was killed anyway.
George C. Wolfe just with his one reference to Donna Summer is flashing the warning light. What will be ultimate fate of the Black “corporate” man in this vignette?
Will he come to his senses as the man did in Don L. Lee’s* poem? :
“Look at Mr. Cream of the Crop, Mr. Colored Man on Top.”
“The Hairpiece” opens with a lady happily putting on her earrings and make-up with a towel hanging down from both sides of her head and with two wigs sitting on her dressing table in front of her. One has to think (because of her smile) that she is pleased with her ability to enhance her appearance as she goes through these motions.
Yet, as this scene progresses, we come to realize that her identity is fragile and dependent upon external support…. cosmetic “crutches” which include her two wigs. She has internalized what the wigs represent to the point that they speak to her as she struggles internally with her self concept. She has reached a point where she is dependent upon the donning of a wig to define herself, even to the allowing of a wig to advise her as she prepares to inform her boyfriend of her plans to break up with him.
She has not decided which wig to wear for the evening. This is more than just a fashion decision. This is a decision about bolstering her ability to meet her boyfriend and insist upon breaking up.
Two separate types of conversations are present in this vignette. One is that which occurs between the two wigs, and the other type of conversation is that in which each wig presents to the lady what inner asset or statement she will “adopt” by donning that particular wig.
The afro wig asserts:
while the long, straight-haired wig asserts:
At the same time that she is feeling the tug of war within herself, the play draws the audience into the drama to consider what the history both of the racism in our White supremist society with its effects on black youth’s self esteem and of the reactive 1960’s “Black is Beautiful” and “Black Liberation” movement with its assertive afro, natural hairstyle.
In a 1963 interview James Baldwin had this to say in response to a white panelist in denial who asks, “It seems to me also, that while you are asking White people to change their estimate of Negro, to raise their estimate Negro, you are also saying to the Negro he ought to do something to raise his estimate of himself. Isn’t that true?”
The lady at her dressing table has allowed her hair and inner being to be damaged by submitting to “fashion demands” by her boyfriend’s politics and by White-supremist society’s definition of “acceptable beauty”:
It falls upon the audience to consider the effect of the elements of society that attempt to define and to place demands upon Blacks in order to fit white requirements for success.
TV anchor Rochelle Richie has said, “When I started in TV, I was told I needed to get extensions so I did and I began to almost immediately move up the TV ladder. And, for six years I faithfully wore extensions and wigs. But, like these women, I was tired of the damage being done to my real hair….and I began to lose it.” It was at that point that she started wearing her hair natural.
The two wigs represent two different outlooks and self-reflections. When they talk to between themselves we hear more of George C. Wolfe’s indictments. When each wig talks to the lady, we hear more of her own inner debate and her dependence upon something outside herself.
George C. Wolfe has not given the lady a name, and yet he has assigned the wigs the names “Lawada” (the straight-haired wig) and “Janine” (the afro wig). This is a pointed statement on his part.
The lady will always remain nameless until only SHE defines herself and breaks up with her boyfriend whose ideology has stiflingly dictated how she feels she must present herself and until she BREAKS with racist White society’s standards for beauty and success.
A diverse audience watching this vignette will be found to have members within it who will individually have to OWN the elements that have crushed the life and individuality out of the lady and perhaps themselves.
A diverse audience watching this vignette will be found to have White members within it who individually have to OWN the elements that have crushed the life and individually out of Blacks like this lady… and Black members within the audience who identify with the lady and also Black members whose political condemnation of damage created by the racism in our society will be reinforced by this vignette.
I found this video this morning:
Not only does Janine’s line referring to “Barbie” speak to the “unreal” demands on young women, it is a huge indictment of our White-structured society’s history of only portraying Whites in media, toys, reading primers, etc.
I was going to come back and write more, but all I can do is speak from my White experience which is to condemn what Whites and our White society have done in a depraved manner criticizing and or mocking Blacks whether in the past and present.
I think any more commentary really should be done by ladies with the African American experience.
I hope I was not wrong in trying to comment on “The Hair Piece” being White and all.
grammar correction: “MY being White and all”
Yahtc, your commenting is greatly appreciated at 3 Chics! PERIOD. THE END. :-)))
you can be White and Right, don’t cha know!
Yahtc is the bombdiggity!
Got it :)
I will continue on to the other vignettes over the coming weeks. Studying them helps me to look deeper into myself and think more deeply as I consider the African American experience.
@Yahtc Carry on my Sister, from another mother! LOL
A book I ordered just came in the mail today.
Guess what it was!
The 1988 first edition hardback of “The Colored Museum” autographed by George C. Wolfe!
Thanks, I know I will :)
I am trying to remember.
Do any local or national Black women newscasters or anchors wear their hair natural?
as far as mainstream media?
LOL You must be viewing the Hairpiece.” It’s hard for me to say, yahtc. Women wear weaves, wigs, extentions, so unless they specifically say, I’m wearing my own natural hair, who knows. It’s their choice.
Did you see this piece about Rochelle Ritchie?
:) Yes I am, Ametia. I will probably be asking more questions :)
Thanks for giving me this video to watch.
First I have to put a new vacuum together :) Then I will come back and watch it.
Rochelle Richie must feel so much more comfortable now.
I had been unaware of hair loss from braiding but have been aware of what harsh chemicals can do as far as hair loss.
Also, I had hair falling out over twenty years ago when I was not taking my thyroid medication regularly for my under-active thyroid. Also, had very cold hands after playing two hours of tennis. (My friends, who would do the traditional handshake thing at the end of each tennis match, would say my hands were ice cold.) When I went back to taking my thyroid medication regularly, my hair stopped falling out (good thing I have thick hair) and my hands went back to normal temperature.
The Gospel According to Miss Roj
I find the setting of this episode to be very revealing of its message. A fully lit stage separates Miss Roj from her audience at ALL times. The house lights never go on, symbolizing that Miss Roj can never be at “home” with those in the audience seats. One feels that the audience is not attentive to her….its members simply listen idly or completely ignore her and give preference to themselves and their guests. The darkness they sit in symbolizes the lack of feedback, accolades, and caring interest in Miss Roj. There is no applause for her monologue performance. Just silence. It seems that she is viewed more as an exhibit than as a performer.
The darkness that she looks out upon from the stage seems to symbolize the isolation and nonacceptance she experiences in society. The stage almost becomes like a soapbox on the street that people pass by with their mind on other things. Only once does she attempt to pierce the dreaded darkness by approaching and sitting at a table to converse with two men.
It is at this table where Miss Roj shares the misery she faces and how she, with a stylish “snap”, tries to defeat both the racial and homophobic prejudice that society directs at her as a Black, drag queen.(She is either gay or transgender.)
Nevertheless, she chooses to not allow herself and her valid presence as a Black drag queen to be suppressed, and she remains in the spotlight “telling it like it is.” Miss Roj’s reality is that of being oppressed by white racism and homophobia. She is rejected by Whites and by homophobic members of her own race.
While Miss Roj attempts to get through with her style and her “snap”, we realize that, deep down, she is more fragile than she lets on. We are clued in when she needs drink after drink from a waiter who would have ignored her had she not intercepted him. She even tells this waiter to pass on the message to the bartender that “if Miss Roj wanted to stay sober, she could have stayed home and drank Koolaid.” This is so telling of what lies beneath her outward bravery and “snap.” It points to her need to drug up to silence her “to be or not to be” sober moments alone at home. There is a fear that if she stays sober too long she might actually come to and even answer the question “Do I dare?” (I see the mention of “Koolaid as a reference to the Jim Jones colony in Guyana.) Miss Roj in spite of all the “snaps” and the style is in deep pain. She receives no acceptance, no empathy, no mercy, and she fears the mercy that the Koolaid offers. She instead goes out to the nightclub bar where she deadens her pain with alcohol.
Being a drag queen does not allow her to remain hidden from the society’s oppressive glare. But it and on stage gives her the chance to tell TRUTH to the world, to her audience….directly, right at them…..she is true to herself whether they listen or not.
At, oh what she has to say! She does not minced words: “A whole race of people gets trashed. SNAP!” Add to that…she is gay and gets little or no support or acceptance from her own people who have been on the receiving end of racist oppression. This is reflected upon entering the stage and announcing that she is Miss Roj. When she is ignored by two women, she continues to seek recognition by spelling out her name, but only receives the cold shoulder with those two women turning their backs and walking away.
The walls have been put up against her…not just by whites with their hateful racism and power structures against her but even the secondary walls put up by the Black traditional community against her. There are two sets of walls against her. It seems as if she is a total alien (an extraterrestrial), and she asks
“Is there life after Jericho?” Everyone seems to be within those walls shutting her out….So if she ever manages to conquer Jericho’s walls with its people….ever successfully tears down those walls…….will there be any life afterwards? She has no trumpet except her “snap” and her stage.
She painfully feels the rejection of her community with whom she shares the effects of white racism in the white power society. And, with the line “can’t get no job” she reminds her audience of the horrors that white society has dealt out to the black community where all benefits, advantages and privileges only go to Whites……where the injustice, stereotyping, profiling, and inequality and racism is experienced by Blacks.
(I am feeling sick….I want to scrap off my white privilege, I pray for change, racism has to STOP!)
What a huge indictment against White society when Miss Roj sits at a table with a male couple and tells how he snapped a white man into a heart attack, (the two gay men can laugh as they relate to their experience as prejudice as been thrown at them….but that is it ……Other than that , they cannot relate to him.) But what an indictment…..with all the stereotyping that racists believe in so much, it only takes snaps of Miss Roj’s fingers to almost give a white man a heart attack. The racist white man was so convinced of Black stereotypes that all Miss Roj had to do to the racist, homophobe was say “BOO!”
I am going to post this now and address some more of Miss Roj’s lines and her outfit later.
Woman, you gave Miss Roj her PROPS! Kudos to you, Yahtc.
You captured the raw emotion and pain behind Miss Roj’s monologue.
THANK YOU, for your commentary.It’s so appreciated.
You are welcome and thanks!
I will come back at a later time and address the last third or so of the episode.
Take your time. I find sharing what you’ve gleaned from these exhibits profound & spot on. I’m aways interested in other’s insights and comments. Yours is indepth,and I love it.
Getting into the “Gospel” part is kind of heavy. No doubt, at this point in the play, the Roj’s audience expands from just the nightclub audience to the entire audience in the theater watching the play.
How the theater’s audience received Roj’s “Gospel” message at the end of the play totally would have depended upon not only its individual members who claim(or do not) to have a humanitarian outreach in society but also its individual members who profess to be Christians and their diverse interpretations of how to live the Christian life…….what scriptures they focus upon and emphasize to guide their lives and meet the world with.
Thank you for your feedback and encouragement, Ametia!
It keeps me going.
This one is now correct:
Before I address the second half of the “Miss Roj” episode, I would like to address a symbolic element that struck me deeply…..her clothing.
For me, as a white individual, these lines represent a loaded indictment.
Miss Roj’s WHITE shoes remind me that Blacks have been forced to walk in a certain prescribed way in a world of inequality in a white-power structured system where whites only have the advantages, benefits and privilege.
It is a society which historically has allowed discrimination and racism to place limits on the presence of Blacks and on the upward mobility of Blacks. Many brilliant, capable Blacks have had their work possibilities limited to such jobs as maid, factory worker, postman, Pullman porter, field worker, etc. over the years. Blacks have been excluded from many opportunities and rights…..education (especially higher education), credit, loans, associations, etc.
To succeed, Blacks have had to put on the “WHITE” shoes to fit into a world that has demanded them to leave who they “really are” at home, that has demanded them to act in a way to soothe racist fears so that they will not appear threatening, that has demanded them to accept the white status quo, that has demanded them to speak White, etc. if Blacks want to get along, earn a living, and succeed.
Instead of just wearing ordinary white shoes, Miss Roj is wearing white boots which Miss Roj labels as her “Go-Go’s”. Again, I was struck by the symbolism of this label. Miss Roj slams me with the truth when she combines this “Go-Go” label with the line:
Historically, Blacks have been considered by Whites to be just fine when Blacks have provided labor for them. But, after Whites have “gotten their LABOR” out of Blacks, they dismiss Blacks from their presence in a “out of sight, out of mind” manner. “Go! Go!” They have not wanted Blacks in their neighborhood, their clubs, their pools. “Go-Go! Begone!” Even though Black maids and butlers have worked right in the homes of Whites, they (as illustrated in the movie “The Butler”) are expected to be invisible “Go! Go! Don’t act like you are really here.”
When Blacks today want their experience of inequality, of being profiled and stereotyped, and of facing the effects of racism to be HEARD, UNDERSTOOD, and ACCEPTED as a valid assessment of what is being dealt to them in our White-powered, White-structured society, their story/testimonial is dismissed by whites. “GO! GO! We don’t want to hear about it,” or “We refuse to believe you,” and even “So What!”
After “Labor Day” ….after all the work done……after “properly behaving in their ‘white’ shoes”, Blacks return to their own neighborhoods and their own homes and families, forgotten by the White employers and return to their real selves behaving in a way that Whites would consider improper or “gauche”. Their employers want no more to do with them than former slave holders did…..no friendships and no mixing. Wearing Annette Funicello’s capri fashion would not gain Miss Roj an invitation by Whites to their pools or beaches as illustrated by Miss Roj’s tale of her beach visit.
This is the world that Miss Roj lives in.
Miss Roj here declares that she will have none of this and certainly will not kowtow to anyone!
“If you’ve got it, flaunt it…if you don’t, front it, and snap to death any bastard who dares to defy you.
Yes, SG2, Miss Roj knows how to tell off and deal with the racist world.
We whites have to own up to the conditions we have created and do all we can to stand up AGAINST the racist hatred today and AGAINST every attempt in our country to turn the clock back AND acknowledge the benefits we receive from our white privilege.
Just writing my post about Miss Roj’s clothing filled me with such sadness ……heartbreaking to know what evil has done.
I pray and pray for a better world.
Yahtc, you really broke down the powerful symbolism in tis piece. Miss Roj is one of my favorite characters in these vignettes
Mr. George C. Wolfe would be so very proud and honored to read your insights on his play.
Thanks so much for contributing to this thread. We appreciate you.
And, I appreciate your guidance and feedback, Ametia.
Thank you for this.
Yahtc, I eagerly anticpate your insights from the next exhibit!!
As Miss Roj takes the stage at the nightclub known as “The Bottomless Pit,” she speaks of her origins and her style represented by her snap.
Gradually bolstered by drink she enters into the deep recesses of her soul and of society’s dark deep pit. She encounters her own demons and rides them like the four horses of the apocalypse to pronounce judgment on society and more immediately upon her audience. Miss Roj’s words fire out beyond her nightclub audience into the that of the theater. Whatever the theater’s audience chooses to own or relate to depends on each members experience and background. However diverse the audience, each individual in the audience has the potential to become unsettled, to become emotional, or to become resistant to the TRUTH message that Miss Roj delivers.
How many have been lulled into complacency to horrors of life in the streets of the city? Well, Miss Roj has the snap of the hypnotist to wake up those people, to pierce their conscience, and to force them to answer.
Just how deep is the Christians’ commitment? How many of them pick and choose what it is to be a Christian? How many ignore the humanitarian teaching of Jesus to feed the poor, to lift up the broken- hearted, to care for the sick, to love each other as Jesus has loved them without considering differences, and to raise up and carry the downtrodden?
Just how deep into a bottomless pit of uncaring, hatred, or racism, etc. has each member of the audience sunk?
Well, Miss Roj has a snap for everything, and her most potent one is the judgmental warning snap sending the message that they are one heartbeat closer to the end of times and judgment day. Better RESPECT Miss Roj’s snap or be cut down by it.
This gospel according to Miss Roj is delivered powerfully by Miss Roj:
Her snapping and origin come from another galaxy…..there is something in her that is of the world and not of the world…..almost as if. just when people might think she is vulnerable to the oppression of the world, she (of course, fueled by drink and her demons and exterrestrial self) surprises those who would wish to suppress her, and she becomes immune to oppressive attempts to subjugate her voice and her soul.
No, she will not allow anyone to get an easy handle on her…..no kowtowing for her. Can’t catch her especially when she is reinforced by her drink and other worldliness in addition to her bold, angry demons which drink releases:
Miss Roj’s gospel emerges from her life of pain which has origins in her baptism by her drunken father. And it is alcohol, not water, that figures in Miss Roj’s baptism. In addition, her baptism ded not end with, “This is my Son of whom I am well pleased.” No, Miss Roj’s father baptized her with the name “Faggot…..Faggot this and Faggot that.” For this, Miss Roj kicked her father into the broom closet where he had been headed and locked him in and forgot about him.
On the third day her father “rose again” in her memory and she went to the tomb-like broom closet and let him out. Miss Roj basically had switched the tables on her father. It was not Miss Roj who was in the closet, and it was not Miss Roj who came out of the closet to reveal her sexual orientation. No, those three days were for her father.
In the present, Miss Roj’s spends her three days a week at “The Bottomless Pit” which is
The Bottomless Pit seems to call out “Come out all ye who thirst ….and I will give you rest.”
For Miss Roj though, “The Bottomless Pit” club bar is NOT the place to be. It allows people to sit in an entertainment, complacent place where they do not have to think and take responsibility for the needy and the wrongs in the world.
Where is the respect? Where is the caring?
After downing all of her drinks and with her TRUTH demons and Avenging demons coming to the surface, Miss Roj tells what she thinks of “The Bottomless Pit” club:
Her message after telling of the horrors in the world that are ignored by unfeeling people is ___to feel for one another as I have felt for them and for you___. She has felt for them by giving them a warning that they had better see with their hearts and ACT with compassion before the end of times.
Miss Roj in this play delivers her OWN gospel message that if you mistreat her or Blacks or the downtrodden or the sick, etc., you have mistreated her:
The bright spotlight’s on Miss Roj’s stage of life have declared to her that the end is indeed near. Her hypnotist-like message to them is to remember her power and her message every time they hear a snap in the future:
Her Second Coming will come in the form of a SNAP reminding her listeners of her message and her power.
3 CHICS APPLASUE!
Bless you, Ametia.
Have to create an episode 11 “The Party” for my situation…..have to own the white baggage……system wants me to trash the baggage…..can’t…….where will this lead?……heavy…..
Still watching the exhibits?
I watched all of them two days ago and just finished watching “Go Tell It On the Mountain” this evening. Feeling deeply and realizing the effects of the white @$%#%$
and responsibility on every aspect of Black dynamics….family, individual, inner city…..
(at some point I will go back to each episode….but right now I’m dealing with the total effect of all the episodes, all that has happened this year………..)
Yahtc, in Soldier with a Secret, Juney’s pain was intensified with the fact that when/if he and the other black soldier came home, they’d still face the ugliness of racism and discrimination, after fighting for their country.
I know that is what black veterans have faced no matter which U.S. war.
I will rewatch the movie.
I have “And Then They Heard Thunder” by John Killens in my library. What an intense, moving commentary that was.
I can’t speak for all black soldiers, but my brother-in-law returned from Viet Nam in a complete shambles. He refused help. He’s still trying to drink and drug his PTSD away.
This is heartbreaking to learn about your brother. So many try to “self medicate” to drive their PTSD away…..so many don’t want to be labeled as less or as incompetent because they have PTSD. I will keep your brother in my prayers, Ametia.
Now, here is a transcript of the part of Episode 4 “Soldier with a Secret” that I neglected to address:
I will return to address this.
My cousin returned from VietNam and became an alcoholic. He would get drunk and cry.
Spot on; Yahtc. It really was a no win for some of these soldiers, back in the day, and even some today. Most of them were recruited before they left high school. The recruiters preyed on neighhoods of color. They were sold a “better life.” one these men dared dreamed of having, without the adages of racism and hate, but we all know war and killing people is not a “better life.”
Many went into the military to get paid a regular salary to support themselves and their families. They thought it was better than hanging around in the streets, dealing drugs, etc.. some got full ride college funding, after they returned, IF THEY RETURNED alive!
Thank you both for sharing from you relatives experiences. And thank you for your 1:51pm information, Ametia.
Here is what I have been writing:
It is not Junya’s responsibility to heal the “all that hurt to come” that he saw on Hubert’s face….”all the hurting that you colored boys’ is wearing’ from the war”…..the battle field war of bombs and bullets and the white racists’ endless, evil war of discrimination, profiling, stop and frisking, targeting only Blacks to fill the prisons,
it is Our responsibility as WHITES to heal the hurt by disassembling the white power structures, seeing to it that equal justice. equal representation, job equality, educational equality become PERMANENTLY planted in our society.
It is my responsibility to speak up if I witness an African American being discriminated against or racially mistreated.
It is my responsibility to stand up against such practices as profiling, SYG laws that victimize the Black community, voter suppression.
How tragic for that soldier, Junya, to think that the only solution to the hurt was to help the sufferers depart the world of the living.
How tragic that the daily, constant stress, hurt, pain, debt caused by discrimination has to be “sucked in” and “taken silently” at work in order to keep a job …..would lead to “beatin on” a loved one at home because of all the steam built up over the day from what white racists dish out.
It is pure horror that so many innocent Blacks are profiled and killed by police and vigilante types.
This MUST end.
My heart is so much with you, SG2 and Ametia. I cannot begin to imagine the emotion both of you have inside you from your personal understanding of what is out there.
Two days ago, I went to you “gz verdict page” – July 13 or 14……I was (and do) sending you prayful, loving hugs ……all your tears……..it was so sad to read….all the justified anger and shaking and trembling. I love you two.
Whites don’t want to know the “secret” of the Black soldiers’ pain. They want to keep them invisible……out of sight and out of mind.
How MUCH do I and other well meaning whites ALLOW the consequences and victimization of white racism and discrimination against African Americans to remain “out of sight and out of mind.”
I hope I can every day keep my eyes, ears and heart open and aware. I don’t want to allow any of this to be out of sight or out of mind.
How do you feel? What are you thinking?
Don’t know it you saw the two replies above these last two.
How do I feel?
(Yet, necessary to grow.)
To Yahtc: If you watch these vinettes, watcj them in sequence as posted. They move quickly into the next.
I just finished the first one…..I will watch them in sequence…..I can tell I probably will not rush it so that I can reflect upon each.
I just posted at the bottom of this page.
These vignettes are layered & rich. Take your time, Yahtc. Your perspectives are greatly appreciated.
I will take your advice, and watch them over the next few days.
As a teenage mother, I could relate to “Permutations.” I did the monologue for this vignette in a local reading for a small theater company years ago.
You don’t have have the experiences to have empathy. Guilt and shame are not necessary.
I LOVE The Colored Museum!!! I have always been a huge wolfe fan. Thanks for this!!
Hi Dannie; The Colored Museum is TIMELESS. This play, STRAIGHT, NO CHASERS.
Miss Pat: “Any baggage you don’t claim; WE TRASH.”
I love all the exhibits and even co-directed this play at a college in MD years ago.
Really? How about that! Good for you!
the play made some folks uncomfortable, but it really is how it all went down, baby.
Even within the first minute , I wanted to go to the rail and vomit. Then to hear William Faulkner’s name mentioned at the expense of suffering multitudes.
She expressed the total incapacity of the whites to think beyond the dollar…..hearts so tightly wrapped in the dollar that they only knew savagery with no capacity for empathy or responsibility to their fellow man.
To remain silent today while enjoying the fruits of the enslaved and mistreated and jim crowed and to not try to reach out and undo the damages thusly created is just as heinous.
Stripped of their drum communication, of their religion, their homeland, their freedom with no white respecting their dignity.
“Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” is mocked because white audiences just weep without rectifying the resulting, present day damage and suffering from slavery, jim crow, and today’s continuing embedded white power systems.
Insistence on white pronunciation as being the only correct, acceptable way to speak. American whites ignore the fact that they themselves have strayed from the king’s English, yet say “to hell” with ebonics.
Shit, now she sings “Summertime and the liven is easy”…….never happened….easy for whom? Gershwin who should have understood since he was from an oppressed people, betrayed the African American people by not telling it like it was….omitting the evil violence and killing. He, Broadway, and Hollywood sold out to the racist, white audiences for the almighty dollar.
Always thought the Supremes and Vandales did play to please white audiences the most. I remember reading one of the poets of the Black Arts movement putting them down for that.
As far as English dialects, Paul Laurence Dunbar wrote in three:
Why you bringing all that TRUTH-TELLING, Yahtc?
Yahtc is rockin & rollin!
because my conscience will not allow for anything else, Ametia.
“Cookin With Aunt Ethel”
Oh, how is it whites don’t know what they have DONE! or to be precise……why will they not listen, accept and validate African Americans when they tell of the effects of the horrors of white treatment strung along for generations into the present. Why won’t all whites understand and not deny the existence and dangers of profiling, stereotyping, racism…..what the present African American experience is.
We as whites don’t have all those ingredients in our cupboards to understand the strength and dignity that African Americans have earned as they struggled to survive and make it in a white world.
The racist cupboard is bare of humility….instead just a unearned and unfounded sense of superiority.
That recipe that leads to jazz, blues, and baked African American experience at best cannot even be imitated through a recipe whose ingredients have only been experienced by Blacks in this nation.
Whites asked for it by what they did and got it….baked up in the cauldron with white inhumanity. Even changed the shades through rape going back to the plantation.
“Now that you got them, don’t ask me what to do with them.”
Well, the answer does not lie in voter suppression, turning the clock back as the racists would still have it.
Time to pay up. Time to care.Time to empathize. Time to rectify. Time to be together. Time to pray for a heart of flesh because whites have had a heart of stone for too long. Time to listen. Time to do the time and the sentence. Time to embrace and come together with an open heart and become one.
Yahtc; you’re breaking it down like a FRACTION. Keep bringing it, lady!
Yahtc is bringing it everyday!
Thank you for your feedback, Ametia and SG2.
When necessary, please ask me leading questions when you think I need to think through some things more.
Yahtc, you’re doing a yeoman’s job. No kidding!
Will certainly ask questions, Yahtc. However, your perceptions have been spot on.
The following only represents my own personal response and my own personal interpretation and understanding of Epidsode 4. I have never studied PTSD, and so I may be way off nor talked to a veteran about his war experiences. (I just remember one incident with my dad when, on a camping trip, stopped the car to check the front right tire. As he was almost at that tire, it popped and Dad immediately fell to the ground to take cover)
“I know the secret to your pain….’Course I ain’t always known…..First I had to die…..And then come back to life before I had the gift.”
In the heat of battle soldiers fight on the most basic level: that of survival…..that of watching out for their fellow soldiers’ lives. Many might sign up to serve over patriotism or for personal economic survival, but, once on the battlefield, it becomes “Kill or be killed.”
Survival depends upon quick, automatic responses to immediacy of the horrific threats directed at the soldiers. Readiness to shoot back, to pin down an enemy, to fall and take cover from incoming big fire becomes so imprinted on the soldier’s consciousness and unconsciousness that it becomes automatic without forethought or planning. The adrenaline behind fear and self survival replaces forethought.
I think it must be very hard for any soldier returning from war to undo this kind of imprinting especially at the unconscious level. So many veterans face the traumas and dramas of PTSD.
The soldier in this movie short, upon being killed along with his unit, faces a type of PTSD-induced purgatory in the spirit world instead of Resting In Peace in a tranquil heaven. War and PTSD have tainted and harmed his soul, deranged his soul’s mind, and led his crazed soul to perceive his buddies souls in future violent spirit acts. His deranged soul causes his spirit to perform unthinkable killing acts against his buddies’ spirits beings in order to “save” them from ever following through on what he perceives to be their horrific acts in the future.
War and killing is Hell, whether in the real world or the world of purgatory.
Thank you very much, SouthernGirl2.
Thanks, Ametia….that is good to hear.
A question before I rewatch “Soldier with a Secret”: Are Black veterans less likely to seek help or receive help for PTSD because of racism and discrimination?
Now, here is a transcript of the part of Episode 4 “Soldier with a Secret” that I neglected to address:
I will return to address this.