“Thoughts of a Colored Man” is the most important play of the 21st century! It demonstrates that it is definitely our time to be heard—especially the voices of Black men, who have always been ignored; Black men who are killed by police; Black men who are unfairly stereotyped and put into one-size-fits-all boxes. This dramatic production is a love letter to Black men: it shows that Black men have endless levels to their lives. In this play you will see your father, brother, uncle, son. The monologues, slam poetry and scenes shared by seven Black men on stage are absolutely moving, stunning and thought-provoking.
Keenan Scott II is a gifted playwright who beautifully demonstrates his love for himself, his family and the other Black men he has encountered throughout his life. His characters — Love, Lust, Depression, Passion, Anger, Happiness, and Wisdom — each has their own backstory, which has severely influenced their take on life. Scott skillfully and respectfully talks about Black men growing up in ghettos, seeing the beauty they possess and that caring sense of community that everyone experiences in their day-to-day lives. He also looks at how Black neighborhoods can be taken over through gentrification, making the neighborhoods unaffordable for the original residents. New businesses come in with prices too high for the people in the community, and condos are built to accommodate the wealthier groups of people. When a Black man is part of that group, he has to contend with balancing being too Black for his white friends and not Black enough for his Black friends.
Scott also shows the self-sacrifice of one of his characters, as he had a scholarship to go to MIT for engineering, but instead works in Whole Foods, stocking boxes, making minimum wage, because his mother needed him at home to help raise his two younger brothers. (I loved when the character said, “Notice the person ringing you up—they could be a genius.”)
Each actor on that stage brought their A-game and vividly let the audience hear the thoughts, beliefs, feelings, and comfortable and uncomfortable interactions that can happen between Black men, always maintaining the love, support and care they have for each other. The delightful, multi-layered performers include Dyllon Burnside as Love; Bryan Terrell Clark as Happiness; Da’Vinchi as Lust; Luke James as Passion (who by the way has the most stunningly romantic singing voice you will hear on a Broadway stage); Forrest McClendon as Depression (who actually is a very funny character); Tristan Mack Wilds as Anger and Esau Pritchett as Wisdom.
What I especially enjoyed about this history-making production was the abundance of humor. Scott’s view of life is profound, but he also repeatedly manages to find the humor in awkward situations. This play is a triple-threat: it is brilliantly and intuitively written by a Black man; directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, a Black man; and stars seven exquisite Black men telling stories about us.
This play also declares a Black man’s admiration, love, dedication and caring appreciation for a Black woman, seeing her as a silhouetted vision of celestial loveliness and grace. Through moments of beautiful melodic singing to God, the play also shows the humble, vulnerable side of a Black man. It shows our continuous connection to a higher being and the ancestors. Through “Thoughts of a Colored Man” being on Broadway at the Golden Theatre on W 45th Street, it has been proclaimed, Black men need to be seen, appreciated, recognized for their greatness, potential and heart! It needs to be understood that they are needing of love, nurturing, compassion and empathy! Black men need to be trusted and cherished! Let them live, grow and thrive!
For more info, visit thoughtsofacoloredman.com.