“With black people we see the same thing right? At the same time that there’s this dialogue that we need to talk about mental illness. By the way, Bell runs the prison phones… they have a monopoly on the prison phones… So at the same time they’re like let’s talk about mental illness, they obviously profit off the largest warehousing of mentally ill people in the country. So fuck Bell Let’s talk.
-El Jones, advocate, educator, advocate’
Luminato Festival’s Out the Window tackles police brutality, and fails like a starting high school linebacker turned beat cop. Not even a post show panel with Black Lives Matter like an overtime hail mary to Odell can save it.
The prosecution would like to present Exhibit A. Racially diverse ensemble of tap dancing cops beating the life out our man Otta Vas. As if depicting colored cops takes the onus off stormtroopers. Them white chicks at Luminato took one look at the lightskinned interview ready Peyson Rock and thought, “I only went to Starbucks five times this week.
Going off that idea of what’s hidden… with this play, I’m not saying this as a criticism. In terms of how space is made… If your white it is incomprehensible, because a lot of white people are taught the system works for you. You’re going to go into the courtroom, your going to tell the truth. Then it’s like shocking when it dosen’t work that way.
Unbeholden to any working relationship, gonna go ahead and criticize for you El. Why this story about Becky realizing the justice system is fucked up? This incident happened eighteen years ago. Niggas are dying yesterday. The inclusion of Black Lives matter is a liberal plot to put asses in seats without having to address actual injustice.
Visual artist Syrus Marcus Ware is ever present on stage. Propped up like this fertility doll of colored womanhood. She doesn’t speak, and later reveals that her silence is meant to represent the silencing of Indigenous voices when it comes to discussions of mental illness. So deep. Would much prefer an actual character arc.
Panel opens up to questions from the audience. I ask if Black Lives Matter is not being exploited here by their cosign of the piece? It’s not really about black people at all. Sandy considers, and admits that when she first saw the play, she realized “it wasn’t for [her].”
“The message is always filtered… There’s so much we’ve been able to educate the public on. Wether that’s the idea of anti black racism all together, because five years ago people we’re not discussing that outside black communities publicly… But then there’s things we don’t get to about because they still don’t make the news how hard we try… A man in Mississauga who was shot a nineteen times after a noise complaint. The police showed up… arrested her, shot her son.
One story you may have heard in the news was somebody shot in the back (during this melee), a white a woman who was working in her kitchen. That story got all over the news. [The victims] mother has been in jail ever since. We haven’t been able to contact her. That story, you haven’t heard it.”
-Sandy Hudson, organizer, writer, political strategist
Why wasn’t any of this in the script? Cuz they ain’t really trying to hear us. White people offering me quinoa in the third act isn’t enough for me. But for them, having our bodies is.
El has the strong backbone of a yellaboned baby momma who isn’t leaving her man for shit. She’s aided three wrongful appeals for black men in Nova Scotia and isn’t even lawyer; just a real ride or die type of Nubian Queen.
Done with this white-‘splaining tip. Skip the show, and don’t touch any of the finger food; those aren’t Tanisha’s gritts. Do stay for the talkblack.
Black stories like latin kids in internment camps. Taken from the parents, made to grow up in white theatre companies.
Sad that black people dying has become a marketing ploy. In the pursuit of taking space, we have to be diligent in the organizations that we give the black stamp to. Know your worth Gods.