November 27, 2023
When I began working at the Wilma in early 2021, we were still navigating the Wild Wild West of creating art during the early stages of the pandemic. When Kellie (our Associate Artistic Director) asked if I would like to serve as Company Manager for an upcoming film of a play by James Ijames that they would be working on in Virginia for three weeks, I immediately said yes. A James Ijames play? Say no more.
Those three weeks working on the film version of Fat Ham became the impetus of my Wilma journey. The days were long and difficult and often felt insurmountable as challenge after challenge unearthed itself. But the laughter and joy we found on set and at home in our shared AirBnBs can never be forgotten. And now Fat Ham is returning to the Wilma! After such an amazing run off- and on Broadway, a Pulitzer win for James, to the play now being performed ACROSS the country, it’s back here where it all began.
From the first read years ago, Fat Ham found a way to latch itself onto something deep and inescapable within my soul. It uplifts Blackness unapologetically. It challenges toxic masculinity and instead encourages each of us to “bloom.” It is a story of acceptance. Accepting who you are inside and embracing those around you. Juicy, his family, his friends ask us to find unbridled love for ourselves and our communities. I see myself, my family members, my friends reflected somewhere in all of these characters. They each show up in their own specific point on the uneven line of discovery that maps our lives as we grow and change from day to day.
Let this play be your mirror. It can reflect back to you what is possible within yourself and those around you and beyond to this great world we inhabit when we “stop accepting what has always been.” Those words spoken by Tio in the play live with me deep in my soul. I hope you can adopt them for yourself. There is always space to change, to evolve, to bloom.
Engage with the below resources in whatever ways are most for you! Read an article on Septa or in transit. Listen to the Spotify playlist or a podcast on your walk or run. Watch some of the tv/shows or movies with your best friends, family, and the communities that hold you closest.
I hope to see you at the cookout!
ORGANIZATIONS TO DONATE TO AND VOLUNTEER WITH:
TO LISTEN: Podcasts/YouTube
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