Houssaynatou @ 'Vivian's Music, 1969' - I just don't have an answer

What’s it about?

An African-American teenager gets wrapped up in the Black Power Movement — a movement she never wanted to be a part of.

My experience.

So, I came across this show after seeing Goodbody. For the first time, those show pamphlets I get in the mail came in handy. While browsing through one, on the very last page I saw a list of upcoming shows. One of them happened to be Vivian's Music, 1969. I was so fascinated by the design of the poster for the show. It reminded me of this one piece of African artwork with a strong woman looking upward. At times I see myself as that undisclosed women with no distinctive facial features. The way her head is tilted up with music notes spewing out of her head screams strong woman to me.

To be honest, I was expecting a diverse audience to come out because of the content of the play. But when I got there I was one of two people of color in the audience. The rest were older white people who most likely were alive during the 1960s, but who probably had a different perspective from Vivian's.

Vivian is a 14-year-old living her best life as a child as she should. But the Black Power Movement robbed her of that. The 1960s is a decade that is associated with racism, segregation, Black Panthers, riots, MLK and much more. This play definitely touched on every single one of those themes. I sort of related to Vivian because she was so oblivious to what was going on right before her eyes. I am the same when it comes to the racism that is spewing out of today's society ever since Trump took office. Growing up, I lived in a diverse neighborhood in the suburbs. Not once did I feel like I was treated unfairly because of my skin color. It was not until college that I got a glimpse of that. I witnessed it on many occasions, but convinced myself that it was not done intentionally. But the rise in racist incidents happening throughout the country seems to be proving my initial assumptions wrong. Though I have not personally experienced any racist encounter and hopefully never will, I really doubt I'd know what to do in that situation. Fortunately for me, Vivian did not know either. By the time she realized and wanted to rise to the occasion she was shot and killed by the very people (police officers) who she thought were supposed to protect her.

At that very moment my eyes welled up and I tried to put myself in her shoes. If I wake up tomorrow and decide to support any of the social movements (#MeToo, Black Lives Matter, etc.) that are in full motion and I get caught up (injured and/or arrested, killed even) what will I do? My mind kept racing and sadly I realize I just don't have an answer. I can't continue to live a life that fails to see what is going on around me and painting a picture as if everything is okay. I must wake up now, but I just don't know if I'm ready to.


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