When scholar-artist Monica White Ndounou helped convene last fall’s 2018 International Black Theatre Summit, she was recalling a 1998 summit led by August Wilson, while rooting the conversation in the present-day ascendance of Black cultures and looking for ways to build on that success. “Everyone I spoke with confirmed my belief that it is possible and necessary to build an African diasporic network,” Ndounou marvels as she looks back on the inspirational gathering. A key takeway: “The future of our creative freedom is tied to our economic freedom.”
Micah Danney, a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn, says he wasn’t expecting to do a story about actors when he visited the site of an Israeli airstrike in Gaza last summer. “It was surreal,” Danney recalls. “The rubble still smelled like burnt plastic. Rave music was playing and clowns were standing on the ruins.” Danney could tell that “something important was going on here, and I felt that people should know about it.” His story captures the resolve of artists who, as a Palestinian director put it to him, are “dreaming to breathe freedom.”
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