On Sunday, September 16th I was invited to speak at “A Tribute to Sonia Sanchez” hosted by Larry Robin at the Moonstone Arts Center. The following are my remarks entitled “Professor Sanchez The Playwright.” Thanks to Allison Malcolm for recording this.
“In 2012 I earned my Ph.D in Black Studies. Professor Sanchez taught at the very first Ph.D granting Black Studies Department in the country. This same year I produced and directed my first play at the Adrienne Theater. Professor Sanchez was the playwright and the play was her 1971 play DIRTY HEARTS, a play about the game of hearts where the Black capitalist, in a white supremaist capitalist economy is perennially dealt the DIRTY hand. The Queen of Spades. The play was and is a PSYCHOLOGICAL PREPARATION for me earning a Black Studies degree in a white supremacist world. I hear the echoes of Carl’s laughs when I apply for jobs only to be told, your so called Black Studies degree does not qualify you for OUR position. In Professor Sanchez’s play, Carl laughs hysterically when he’s dealt the very card that causes him to lose. And the audience is supposed to see the laughter as a dramatic comment on HOW RIGGED the game, or the capitalist economy is, against Black people. Carl is dealt the Queen of Spades over and over again because he BELIEVES IN THE SYSTEM, despite the system not believing in him, and the whole point of that play is THE HOPE Carl has that he can play, even though he always gets the Queen of Spades who said that the Queen of Spades represents THE BLACK WOMAN. Carl’s love for THE BLACK WOMAN is exactly what prevents him from being able to stay in the capitalist game. Carl is me, the Black Studies graduate who believes despite ALL ODDS, that even though the U.S. academy is fundentally white supremacist, it can still have a place for a thinker with love for THE BLACK WOMAN AND BLACK PEOPLE. I thank Professor Sanchez for writing this play. It speaks volumes to my life then and now.”