meshell ndegeocello creates theater piece inspired by james baldwin

November 30, 2016

The ingenious singer and bassist Meshell Ndegeocello has taken her love for all things creative and made a theater piece for the ages. As a revival of sorts, Meshell is using James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time” as the foundation for a conversation about the Black body, queer identity, and freedom. The piece entitled, “Can I Get a Witness? The Gospel of James Baldwin” comes to Harlem Stage December 7-11, staged as a church service, employing music, sermon, text, images, and movement. In a sense, this theatrical production could be an accompaniment to Ndegeocello’s 2012 studio album, “Pour une me Souveraine,” which features her interpretations of signature Nina Simone works. Both Simone and Baldwin were some of the most outspoken critics of America and serve as iconic queer figures. It’s only fitting that Meshell pays homage to their expressions with her own. To buy tickets, visit Harlem Stage’s website.

By T. McLendon, AFROPUNK Contributor

Photo courtesy of Vogue Italy