September 10, 2016 was the official kick off day for Bring It Black, a new organization strictly for African Americans in theatre and film. The organization was founded by Cleavon Meabon, IV with the means of bridging the gap between classic black art and contemporary black art.
“I think all in all, one thing a lot of plays seem to be saying is that we need to, as black Americans, to make a connection with our past in order to determine the kind of future we’re going to have. In other words, we simply need to know who we are in relation to our historical presence in America.” – August Wilson
7 Goals of Bring It Black
The preservation of black theatre and film has long been secondary to the preservation of “American” theatre and film. Shakespeare Taverns and culturally non-inclusive platforms typically leave our work to reside in underfunded HBCU theatre arts programs and off-Broadway productions. We tend to have no place to call home or to play in when we are not in major productions. Workshops and classes are also scarce for working adults.
While mainstream America celebrates August Wilson and cinematic classics like ROOTS, a plethora of our stories go unseen and unheard. Cultural appropriation has taken it as far as monetizing our historic hardships and romanticizing our oppression. We are more. We are powerful. We are classic.
Black theatre dates back to the 1700s and beyond. In addition, Bring it Black stands to be a financial and supportive resource for black artist. There are approximately 89 black owned theaters in America. Places like U-Street in DC, formally known as black broadway, have all but dissipated.
We must take back ownership of black entertainment. We must bring back the classics and bring it black.