Langston in Harlem
In “Langston in Harlem” the poet takes us on a journey back through his life, using his own words in poetry and song to depict his struggles as a black artist and as a black man.
The Harlem Renaissance gave Langston the opportunity to get his voice heard and to express his rage against oppression by white America. But it was never easy— being a black writer in a white literary world, a gay man in a straight society, a rhyming poet in a free verse universe. Langston was criticized for using the rough language of the Harlem streets in his poems, and even scorned by some of his black colleagues. But still he persevered.
The result is a body of work in which his words reflect the music of the times; blues, jazz, boogie-woogie, bebop, gospel, and even the rudimentary beginnings of hip-hop and the poetry slam. In “Langston in Harlem” Langston tells his own story, which is even more powerful and relevant today than it was in the poet’s time. Through music, dance, visuals, and spoken word, this theatre piece strives to capture the poet’s essence.
The underlying message in Langston’s writing is a demand for Freedom. And sadly, one look around today’s world produces a sad take away: “the more things change, the more they stay the same.”
The hope is that “Langston in Harlem” will drive home this point, and show the way to a better world.