Blakk Love (Storeez of a darker hue), Chameleon Productions, at Preston Bradley Center for the Arts. This collection of poetry and prose invokes as its refrain "the revolutionary idea of blakk people loving each other." And indeed, love seems in pitifully short supply in these tales of past suffering and injustice, present-day violence, tribal suspicions, inter- and intra-gender hostilities, and facile panaceas.
Here, as in the 1994 collection under the same title, are Tyehimba Jess's vision of a future "When Niggas Love Revolution" and Quraysh Ali's humorous account of a funeral where one of his aunts nearly steals the show from the deceased. Here again is Tsehaye Hebert's rhapsodic saga of a rape-scarred victim redeemed by the love of a good man, though this time it's intercut with discussions about Mike Tyson, Ike Turner, and Clarence Thomas. New topics include the acceptance of gay brothers and sisters, the thoughtless ignorance several African-Americans show when meeting a Creole woman, and a vivid description of a slave ship, now scrubbed and silent in a maritime museum. Under the direction of Lisa M. Duncan, the four storytellers and two musicians weave dance, melody, and narrative into a pageant of healing self-celebration.
--Mary Shen Barnidge