HOWARD COUNTY, Md. — Right now, a play being performed at Howard Community College is tackling the difficult issue of African Americans killed by law enforcement.
"Kill Move Paradise”, written by James Ijames and Directed by Danielle Drakes follows Isa, Daz, Grif, and Tiny in a cosmic waiting room.
"It was something that really spoke to me as an individual, being a black man in America and wanting to honor these stories,” said Christian Gibbs who plays Daz.
The focal point of the set, an old printer that has the names of an unfortunately growing list of African American men and women who have been killed by police.
“We are honoring these individuals who really are seeking to heal,” Gibbs said.
Freddie Gray is one of the names printed off and his story is part of the inspiration of the play.
An important component to the performance, a talk back between the cast and crew and the crowd after the performances.
"Every community needs to find a way to come together to have these conversations,” Gibbs said. “To talk about what is going on. How do we move forward? How do we heal?"
While it is a very serious topic, the actors make sure to capture the joy and life that was taken and not just highlight their death.
“This play included a lot of joy especially with my character since he is the youngest character,” said Tendo Nsubuga who plays Tiny. “The four of us have moments where we go back to being a kid again.”
Jonathan Del-Palmer plays Grif, and he sees how effective the beauty of the stage and the impassioned performances can be in showcasing an enormous real-world problem.
"So they can see that we are a universally misunderstood people and that is no reason for us to be condemned,” said Del-Palmer. “That is no reason for violence to happen to us, whether it be state sanctioned or otherwise. That is no reason for us to not be seen as heroes."
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