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Pictured: Juwan Lockett
MPAACT has announced the world premiere of Shepsu Aakhu’s BLACK & BLUE, directed by Andrea J. Dymond, and featuring Juwan Lockett & Justin Walker.
Davoe Sexton and Jayson Rabedeau patrol the notorious neighborhood on Chicago’s long-neglected south-east side. The area is known to locals as “Terror Town.” As veteran cops who “happen to be Black,” these men must navigate the streets, the policies of policing, and the deeply conflicted roles that they play in the lives of those that they are supposed to “serve and protect.” Set in 2016, Sexton and Rabideau find themselves at ground zero when long-suppressed evidence surfaces illuminating an officer involved shooting on the very streets that they patrol. Over the course of a single day these officers must confront the most corrosive questions that face African American officers… Are they Black? Are they Blue? Or are they a volatile
mix of Black and Blue?
“Last fall I was asked to contribute to a play called COP OUT! in Portland Oregon along with several other Black writers with strong Chicago ties,” comments Aakhu. “Along the way we interviewed police officers and wrestled with how to tell their stories and still validate the real-life experiences we have as Black people with often difficult histories of our own with law enforcement. I have a lengthy and profound relationship with one of those writers who is a former Chicago police officer. In a California café a few weeks later, we sat talking about one of the monologues that he wrote. It failed to make the cut for that show in Portland. The material was rich and raw and full of landscapes that were tough to navigate emotionally, set in a neighborhood that I had grown up in myself. I understood immediately why it had not worked for our Portland project… but I also understood why it very much needed a platform of its own. At the urging of my friend, I created BLACK & BLUE, to honor his service, to voice our frustrations, and to validate our experiences on both sides of the thin blue line.”
BLACK & BLUE runs October 5th – November 18th. For more information visit mpaact.org.