Artist Statement

My work is focused primarily on untold New York City stories (mainly polycultural ones), and stories of the Hip-Hop Generation. This opens up a wide variety of topics, as well as forms, as there are many different communities living in New York City, and several generations within the Hip-Hop Generation, but many issues that we share across them. In addition, there are aesthetics that are unique to Hip-Hop which invariably find their way into my work. That said, I am just a contemporary theatre artist. My work often falls under the banner of polycultural or Hip-Hop, because I live in these contemporary realities. I do not impose them as afterthoughts to my work, because they are central to my life, my community and my generation. So, in the ancient sense, I am a griot, a theater artist. Nothing avant-garde, experimental or groundbreaking. Except these days in the US, contemporary issues in art are groundbreaking because the norm is an obsession with classics and the dead.

I’ve also grown as a monologist and realized that the stories I want to tell and the way I’d like to tell them, require a larger-scale form. A form that monologues, although poignant and effective, do not necessarily have the capacity for. So I am beginning to create larger plays with many actors and stage work that takes up, well more space, on the stage, in your mind, etc.

My work thus far has been celebrated for my ability to bridge young diverse audiences with non-patronizing, quality, relevant contemporary storytelling, as well as my use of contemporary language, and my focus on putting traditionally peripheral characters at the center of the drama. My theatre work in jails, schools and community centers, both in the U.S. and abroad, has facilitated a dialogue that is not achieved on CNN or MTV, an although it is quite welcomed wherever I go, it has garnered me a special place on the U.S. State Department Watch-List and a large file at the Office Of Homeland Security. And I simply do theatre. Who knew Performing Artists were such a threat in the age of terrorism? Well, I guess that has always been the case.

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