In a recent interview, I was asked why I write? In response, I said the following:
“Simply put, I have to! I write out of spiritual necessity! Writing for me is a way to live and escape the toils of this crazy world in which we all live. Writing is a form of expression and activism for me. I do not write to be rich; I write because I must tell stories reflective of the human condition as I see it. Writing has become therapeutic and liberating, and if one person is touched by something that I have written, I am happy.”
As a theatre maker, I use the theatre to create conversations around social injustices, sexuality, and issues within the African Diaspora. I want to make theatre not just for special interest groups but for all people. As a writer, I like to use classical mediums and forms and the choreopoem and create structure and language in devised works. I want to push the subject matter and make the theatre-goer uncomfortable, forcing them to search within themselves and ask why I feel what I feel? I like the audience member to walk into the performance space one way and leave changed and or want to challenge and question societal norms. I was introduced to the magical world of theatre when I was in elementary school, and I found myself following the craft into middle school and high school, where I began to wrap my head around the magical world of the theatre. I was first introduced to the writings of August Wilson and Lorraine Hansberry, and the earth moved, and my spirit was shaken when I began to immerse myself in their words. This was the first time that I saw myself authentically in the theatre. I started as a performer and went to college to major in musical theatre performance. In the Fall of my freshman year, I had an idea for a play and using the character archetypes I grew up seeing in the beauty salons, barbershops, and the black church, I wrote my first play. “No Ways Tired” was chosen for a workshop and performance in the studio theatre at Sam Houston State University, and it was at this time that I knew that I had to write.
Living in America as a black queer man, “life for me ain’t been no crystal stair,” it is through writing I have found purpose, peace, and passion. The play I submitted is titled THE ROSE OF SHARON, and it delves into the down-low/ gay culture of the ’90s in the black church. Church gossip, infidelity, and secrets test Sharon’s relationship while HIV and AIDS start taking people's lives within her inner-circle. Sharon finds herself questioning God and the relationships she has built. Topics such as this are the epitome of what I like to tackle as a writer.
We go to the theatre to see ourselves, and this is my mission as a playwright with the stories I pen. For years marginalized communities have not felt welcome in the commercial theatre, and it is my primary goal to make the arts accessible to everyone. Using playwriting as a medium has helped me understand who I am; it has also emboldened me to speak truth to light and let the stage be my pulpit. It is more than a prestigious title to be called a playwright; it has become my right of passage into a realm of truth-seeking storytellers, and for that, it is an honor.