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Jazz in itself is not struggling. That is, the music itself is not struggling... It's the attitude that's in trouble. My plays insist that we should not forget or toss away our history.
I know some things when I start. I know, let's say, that the play is going to be a 1970s or a 1930s play, and it's going to be about a piano, but that's it. I slowly discover who the characters are as I go along.
I first got involved in theater in 1968, at the height of a social tumult. I was a poet.
For me, the original play becomes an historical document: This is where I was when I wrote it, and I have to move on now to something else.
Blacks have traditionally had to operate in a situation where whites have set themselves up as the custodians of the black experience.
Between speeches and awards, you can find something to do every other week. It's hard to write. Your focus gets splintered. Once you put one thing in your calendar, that month is gone.
As soon as white folks say a play's good, the theater is jammed with blacks and whites.
All you need in the world is love and laughter. That's all anybody needs. To have love in one hand and laughter in the other.
Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing. Use the pain as fuel, as a reminder of your strength.
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