In class recently, I played a piece of audio by Damali Ayo called “Living Flag” in which Ms. Ayo attempts to Panhandle for Reparations: collecting from whites, distributing her change to fellow Blacks. You can listen to the piece here.
At the culmination of the piece, I tried to convince my teenage students that the idea of Reparations for the Descendants of Slaves is not boring and really does effect them (as does the Lingering Scars of Slavery). All but one are Black, all but two descendants of slaves. Maybe I should take them on a fieldtrip….
In the world of Shepsu Aakhu’s play entitled “Ten Square” (showing now at Truman College), a grassroots Reparations Movement was ultimately successful, resulting in checks written to the descendants of slaves and the seeds for a new America were sown. Ten Square is one of the cities (the land located South of Roosevelt Road in present-day Chicago, walled off from greener North Chicago) that emerged in “New America”. In the play, what develops is a Berlin Wall-style scenario, from which more than a few African-Americans have plotted their escape. What follows is an oft-violent tale of one man trying to balance a boatload of obligations in a new gritty world.
“Ten Square” will be performed as a coproduction of the Pegasus Players and MPAACT Theatre Companies. The show will go on at Truman College on Wilson Ave. (in view of the Wilson Stop on the CTA Red Line).
Truman College- O’Rourke Theatre
1145 West Wilson Avenue Chicago
Now Thru – Nov 22, 2009
Thurs-Saturday, showtime at 8pm, Sunday showtime is 3pm. Ticket Price ranges from $20–$25
more about Damali Ayo’s Living Flag
A woman sits cross-legged, panhandling on a busy city sidewalk. She takes money only from white folks, and gives it to blacks who pass by. Her sign reads: “200 Years of Slavery in the United States. Reparation payments accepted here.” damali ayo is a street performance artist. “I offer people a convenient opportunity to pay for the unpaid labor of African Americans,” she quips. The piece is part of her “living flag.”