Convener’s Corner: January 15, 2020

Taifa pensive

New Kennedy Center Opera ‘BLUE‘ Tackles Tragedy of Police Brutality!
“Opera is an art form well-suited to big emotions and tragic stories, often set in the past. But a new opera, Blue, grapples with a more contemporary tragedy – the killing of an unarmed Black man at the hands of a police officer.”
Blue premiers in Wash., DC March 15-28, 2020 in the Eisenhower Theatre of the Kennedy Center. The Taifa Group and Justice Roundtable have secured a block of tickets for the Wed. March 18th show, at 7:30pm. There will be both a pre-show and post-show panel Q&A connected with the performance.  Click HERE for info on prices. To join us on March 18th, get your tickets before February 11, 2020 HERE  
Further complicating the opera’s devastating tragedy, the victim’s father is a Black police officer himself. Tazewell Thompson, Blue’s director as well as the writer of its libretto, lives in Harlem, where the opera is set and he’s had his own run-ins with police. ‘In my own neighborhood, I was frisked and slammed against the wall,’ Thompson says. He remembers another incident he had where police officers mistook his identity for someone else’s and surrounded him in a subway station. ‘I was scared. One police officer had his hand on his holster. And when they realized they had the wrong person, they didn’t say ‘Oh we’re sorry.’ They said, ‘stay out of trouble.'”
“As he was writing the opera, Thompson spoke with both Black police officers and parents to inform his work. Those conversations are behind a scene in Blue when the father, in the hopes of keeping his child safe, gives his son, “the talk”  – the talk, that is, about how to behave when he sees a cop. ‘Every parent that I interviewed – Black parents – they had this talk with their sons at a very young age,’ Thompson says.” 
“Despite ‘the talk,’ the son in the opera becomes a victim of police violence.” 
Note – quotes are from article by Jeff Lunden, NPR, 7-21-19 “New Opera ‘Blue’ Takes on the Tragedy of Police Brutality. 
While tickets last, join The Taifa Group and Justice Roundtable for the Wed. March 18th performance of Blue.  Talk-back discussion that night includes former police officer Ronald Hampton.  Click HERE for info on prices.  Purchase your tickets HERE
If March 18th does not work for you or our group tickets are sold out, the show runs from March 15-28, 2020.  You can purchase tickets directly from the Kennedy Center website. Don’t miss this creative vehicle that shines a light on a critical contemporary issue! 

Nkechi Taifa is the convener of the Justice Roundtable. An expert in the field of criminal justice, she is President and CEO of The Taifa Group, LLC.

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