AfroSolo Arts Festival 20 to Stage CLIMBING EVERY MOUNTAIN: IN HONOR OF BLACK MEN, 9/21
AfroSolo has announced it will join others in paying tribute to the lives, spirit, accomplishments and contributions Black men make in our society. Whether in the arts, science, business, education, law, religion, politics, the arts, or any other mountain, Black men have been tried and tested, yet triumphantly kept their "Eyes on the Prize." They have successfully advanced, uplifted and inspired the human race again and again. From the first man to die in the Revolutionary War, to the most powerful leader in the world, Black men have played an integral role in our country's triumphs and successes.
Climbing Every Mountain: In Honor of Black Men will include performances by accomplished artists: DJ Lamont, Myers Clark, Tommy James Shepherd, Jr. and Thomas Robert Simpson, using theater, storytelling, poetry, music and ritual to dispel negativity while entertaining, uplifting and inspiring our audience.
In addition, they will pay tribute to five special men: Bryan Caston, Rico Hamilton, Paul Henderson, William (Bill) Moore and Marcus Shelby by presenting them with community service awards to celebrate their successes and the significant contributions they made to the San Francisco Bay Area.
Climbing Every Mountain Performances
ADAM: Keeping the Faith!, (an excerpt from a one man play) explores the life of former New York City Congressman, Adam Clayton Powell. It delves into the period when the possibility of censure hung over his term. In this piece we learn more about Mr. Powell, his history and his unapologetic stance as a proud Black man, early in the Civil Rights Era.
Performed by Myers Clark, written by Clarence Cuthbertson and directed by Thomas Robert Simpson
Myers Clark has performed in numerous productions in the Bay Area over the last 20 years, most notably Jesus Moonwalks the Mississippi and Angry Black White Boy. He also held the title role in the critically acclaimed production of "The Death of the Last Blackman in the Whole Entire World" at the Cuttingball Theater. He has also acted in film and television, "Hemingway & Gelhorn" and "Trauma". This is Myers first performance as a solo artist.
Clarence R. Cuthbertson (Playwright) is a native New Yorker who is both an accomplished playwright as well as a musician (percussionist). Mr. Cuthbertson has an MFA in Dramatic Arts from NYU. He has written 19 plays of which 16 have been produced professionally. Mr. Cuthbertson is also an educator, having taught at universities and colleges throughout the United States and the Caribbean. Mr. Cuthbertson is also the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in Black theater.
Thomas Robert Simpson is an actor, director, producer, and writer, and the founder and artistic director of AfroSolo Arts Festival. Since 1991 he has concentrated on presenting African American and African Diaspora art and culture through solo performances and the visual and literary arts. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the coveted Bay Area Jefferson Award for Public Service.
The Liberation of Elroy, written and performed by Thomas Robert Simpson.
This is story of Elroy, a man born and raised in the beautiful rolling hills of middle Tennessee, in the early 1900's. The grandson of slaves, he experienced the ravages of Jim Crow, the lessons and memories of which followed him through-out his life. By committing one act of civic participation, he throws off decades of shame, fear and intimation to boldly declare: "I Am Somebody!"
Interruptions, written and performed by Tommy James Shepherd Jr.
Mr. Shepherd will premiere this musically-based, site-specific work, paying homage to Black
men. The work combines hip-hop, spoken word and beatbox, where all the drum sounds and music will be made with his voice.
Mr. Shepherd, aka Soulati, is an actor, educator, playwright, b-boy, rapper, drummer, and beatboxer. Tommy was a performer at the 2013 Hemispheric Institutes Enquentro Conference alongside Marc Bamuthi Joseph. He recently had the honor to be a faculty member of Jazz Camp West. Tommy is one of the co-founders of the live hip hop Collective, Felonious: onelovehiphop, who have played nationally and internationally and also created original theatrical productions.