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Harlem Playwright Honors Works of Malcolm X & Lorraine Hansberry

Harlem Playwright to Honor Work of Malcolm X and Lorraine Hansberry

By Dartunorro Clark | May 17, 2017 5:40pm

HARLEM — In an age of resistance and Black Lives Matter, a local writer is looking to the past to unpack present-day issues.

In an ode to civil rights icon Malcolm X and playwright Lorraine Hansberry — both of whom share a May 19 birthday and a Harlem connection — writer Shaun Neblett is unveiling a play based on the pair’s works on Friday.

The play “Happy Birthday Malcolm and Lorraine!” will feature sets of vignettes performed by several up-and-coming playwrights who will discuss contemporary topics, such as gentrification.

Since the two subjects share the same birthday, Neblett wanted to fold their ideas and words in with the work of current writers, whose “journeys have been paved by Malcolm and Lorraine’s spirit and relentless drive to sharpen the black psyche,” he said.

 Lorraine Hansberry and Malcolm X share a birthday on May 19.

Lorraine Hansberry and Malcolm X share a birthday on May 19.

“Beyond creating a great show, we are sending their spirits our gratitude and keeping their important teachings alive,” he added.

In doing research for the play, Neblett said he discovered a letter at Harlem’s Schomburg Center that Hansberry wrote to her local newspaper when she was living in Greenwich Village, saying that “people were coming into her community and trying to take over.”

“It really speaks to the gentrification that people are dealing with today in Harlem,” said Neblett, who founded the Changing Perceptions Theater.

Another captivating draw for Neblett is the play’s location: the home of Langston Hughes, another historic Harlem figure.

The East 127th Street home was renovated and has been leased by a group of artists — called the I, Too Arts Collective — since last year to preserve Hughes’ legacy.

“It’s just all a real sort of nucleus for this event and the meaning of it and the purpose,” Neblett explained. “They all fought in their own way to empower the black psyche.”

Hansberry and Malcom X also have Harlem ties.

He spent some of his most formidable years in the neighborhood, and she moved there in the 1950s, later writing “A Raisin in the Sun,” whose title was based on a poem by Hughes.

“They were both revolutionaries and they just went about the way they fought for liberation in different ways,” Neblett said, “but their ideas and thoughts were the same.”

“Happy Birthday Malcolm and Lorraine!” premieres Friday, May 19, at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or online. The show will take place at the I, Too Arts Collective at the Langston Hughes House, 20 East 127th St. 

GOOD BLACK NEWS

Lorraine Hansberry and Malcolm X share a birthday on May 19 (photos via dnainfo.com)

by Dartunorro Clark via dnainfo.com

HARLEM — In an age of resistance and Black Lives Matter, a local writer is looking to the past to unpack present-day issues.In an ode to civil rights icon Malcolm X and playwright Lorraine Hansberry — both of whom share a May 19 birthday and a Harlem connection — writer Shaun Neblett is unveiling a play based on the pair’s works on Friday.

The play “Happy Birthday Malcolm and Lorraine!” will feature sets of vignettes performed by several up-and-coming playwrights who will discuss contemporary topics, such as gentrification. Since the two subjects share the same birthday, Neblett wanted to fold their ideas and words in with the work of current writers, whose “journeys have been paved by Malcolm and Lorraine’s spirit and relentless drive to sharpen the black psyche,” he said. “Beyond creating a great show, we are…

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      • I lived in NOLA for three years (grad school), but the climate is too darned hot for too darned much of the time for it to be a favorite city. Chicago is a car-city and I live lost, so ditto there.

        NYC is built on a grid with an amazing public trans system, every “walking route” is dotted with air conditioned stores for relief from the heat – and it keeps my hours! My very fav for those reasons and more.
        xx,
        mgh

        Like

      • Chicago has the best most extensive transportation system in the world, it’s built on a grid has bus el (elevated train), subway service, railway service between suburbs every 15 minutes on off hours and every 7 minutes during rush hour. Many Many people who own cars never drive them to work as there are so many excellent options for public transportation. The only drawback to Chicago is if you are unfamiliar with neighborhoods to avoid, you end up dead. Now for NOLA, I find the heat to be a blessing, it’s a dry heat, much like The Keys, where I lived for 20 years, and in NOLA most every place for living has A/C, much like Florida. Now for the best….food. No city in the world touched NOLA OR Chicago for cuisine, hole in the wall joints, food trucks, elegant dining, or food carts. Maybe one time in the future I’ll give you guided tours of both cities, my way.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sign me up for your tours. I lived lost in Chicago (when I wasn’t being blown against buildings when I wandered near the water – literally!).

        As for food – I still think Manhattan has both cities beat – so much variety in type of cuisine, price points, “dress code,” eat in/take out, hours – you name it.

        When I was in NOLA, anyway, the food was great as long as you were in the mood for French or Cajun and didn’t want Japanese, Thai, Greek, Indian, Turkish, African . . . and even great Italian was limited to a few places. I used to joke that it was like there was an underground kitchen running from Galatoire’s to Commander’s to Brennans – with offshoots! AMAZING vacation food, but long-term???? No contest.

        DRY heat – are you kidding? NOLA’s the only place I’ve ever heard of where the humidity could be 100% and it is not raining – something about being below sea level. In the Keys, at least, you get the ocean breeze (and I don’t think even there it gets as hot as summer in N.O.)

        Now about those Chicago nabes where you end up dead . . .
        xx,
        mgh

        Like

      • You don’t know Chicago. No city, including NYC, has the diverse neighborhood restaurants that Chicago has….there are so many ethnic neighborhoods in this city. Block after block you will find authentic family owned food shops, grocery stores from Asia, Greece, Italy/Sicily, Armenia, Germany, Russia, Latin America, UK. Thats not counting restaurants….Chicago is not called the melting pot for nothing. NOLA has a food that is universal. Most all dishes in The Bayou are a mixture of French, Canadian, Greek, Asian, and whatever style was available when the Arcadian’s fled from Arcadia to the south of Louisiana. You have to get out in any city and explore. NYC has great food/cuisine, but to hold a candle to Chicago/NOLA, they need great chefs. family cooks. The food scene shifted years ago from LA/NYC to Chicago, Miami, and NOLA.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I must admit it has been a couple of decades since I’ve been to any of the three – so I’ll take your word for it. And you are t-totally right, I do NOT know Chicago – I was in residence at a summer theatre nearby, so merely a lost visitor to that particular “big city.” My Chicago colleague suffered a fatal heart attack a few years back, so all thoughts of a visit there left my mind.
        xx,
        mgh

        Like

      • I make everything from scratch, sausage, pasta, bread, even butter when I’m bored. I catch my own fish/seafood and use a trusted butcher/farm for meat. Farmers market for the vegetables I need and herbs from my own garden. Now days eating healthy means not shopping in a mas market grocery store.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You don’t really sleep at all, do you? I am in awe of everything you somehow find time to do.

        Interesting study recently on junk food and lowered test scores, to a statistically significant degree – carefully crafted, btw, adjusted for other factors to avoid the correlation/causation criticisms. They followed the kids for several years as well – with clear implications for the negative impact on the recall component of intelligence in any case.

        These days, unless you eat organic or home grown, so MUCH of our food supply might as well be junk food. Anything for the quick buck, huh?
        xx,
        mgh

        Liked by 1 person

      • My grandmother, who taught me to cook at age 8, always said grocery stores were heavens for germs, bacteria and disease. She also said hospitals were places where healthy folks with a single health problem went to pick up many more illnesses. Grandparents were very wise back in my day. I learned to cook/make all my food for myself from scratch from my grandparents, who cooked every meal as a couple, from scratch. I can still smell cornbread being made daily in a cast iron skillet, for every meal, we never ate store bought bread.

        Fast food/junk food is the single most thing responsible for medical health problems starting with obesity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • You are preaching to MY choir here – especially about the hospitals and the rise in obesity.

        I was raised on store-bought bread, but it was reserved for sandwiches for bag lunches for 5 kids. It’s a wonder my mom had time for even that, given that we moved practically yearly and my Dad was rarely home to help! Rolls, biscuits, deserts, etc. were home-made.

        Now that I no longer eat gluten (prophylactically , after much research), cornbread must be homemade, and I frequently do – in my big cast iron skillet.
        xx,
        mgh

        Like

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