Spoken word poet, playwright, author and TED Talk speaker, Chris James is bringing his one act/eight scene play, Dear Black People to the Ashe’ Center.
James is from Little Rock, Arkansas, but resides in Atlanta, Georgia. He found his love for the arts in college when he was introduced to the poetry community. He begin to pursue poetry as his career. It was then that he realized that he could turn his poems into stage plays. James put out his first stage play in 2013, and has been converting his passion into performances ever since. Dear Black People addresses the stereotypes within Black Culture. It also talks about issues that members of the black community face on a daily basis such as: self-inflicted hurt, self-esteem issues, relationships, racism within the black community, hip hop music, poverty and what it means to be black.
James’ goal behind this play was to bring to light the things that African Americans do to themselves and each other. He wanted to begin to address these problems through laughter and humor, but by the end of each scene he wants to show the effects of one’s actions. “All my bodies of work are about are about educating people, and talking about things that many people are afraid to talk about,” said James. “I want to have those neglected conversations and I’m very passionate about creating those narratives.”
James said that when people see his performances, he wants them to feel inspired to create change within their community. That is one of the reasons why James chose to have his play show at the Ashe’ Cultural Arts Center. He said that his vision, and the vision of the center coincide.
“I love how they strive to educate the people in the black community,” he said. “They try to keep history and culture alive, and that’s how I knew that the space was perfect for what I was doing.”