Controversial N-Word Play Will Run in Waterbury (Video)

The controversial play “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” will make its debut on in Waterbury.
The play uses the n-word more than 16 times… but it’s OK. It’s used in historical context.

Debate on school play in Waterbury:

News 8 reported:


Students at a Waterbury magnet school have been practicing their lines, getting ready to perform a play about racism and the lives of ordinary African-Americans.

If theater is a reflection of life, past or present, should certain aspects of life be played out on stage?

August Wilson’s play “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone,” set in Pittsburgh, centers on the African-American struggle in 1911.

Students at Waterbury’s Arts Magnet School want to perform Wilson’s work here next month. The issue, characters use the “n” word often.

“This isn’t being used as a slang, or derogatory. It’s historical context, the right way it should be used in the first place. Other than what you hear in halls at schools as a term of endearment,” cast member Toure Richardson said.

Although Superintendent of Schools Dr. David Snead determined the content was not appropriate for high school students, the decision was appealed by the school’s principal, and taken to the school board, who took up the issue Wednesday night.

“I think use of the “n” word is offensive to a lot of people, not withstanding that, the play is very violent at the end, and I just don’t think it’s a play that needs to be played out,” School Board Member Paul D’Angelo said.

A packed house offered many viewpoints.

“You should not sugar-coat history by stopping us by performing this play,” cast member Genaya Preston said.

“They don’t feel the sting like older ones do, they don’t understand it like the older ones do, they didn’t go through what the older ones did, so they are not going to see it the same way,” said Athena Wagner of Waterbury.

“Now I can say as an African-American actor, I have never felt more comfortable, being in a role, until I played Bynum, and African-American in this play,” cast member Timothy Floyd said.

You better see it here.
This is one play that will never run in a predominantly white high school.
We all know that.

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