The latest installment of "Our Voices Are Many" will be performed this Sunday on the University of West Florida MainStage Theater. It's an encore presentation titled, "Celebrating The Voices, Faces, and Images of Black Men in America: The Sons of Africa.
Mamie Webb Hixon is the talent behind "Our Voices Are Many," which is being staged for the fifteenth time. Hixon, an assistant professor of English at UWF and director of the UWF Writing Lab, wrote the script for and is artistic director of the theatrical production.
The "Sons of Africa" program was first performed in July of 2012, following up a performance that focused on African American women. For this production, the goal is to spotlight and highlight the achievements of African American men. Hixon says it's important for people to recognize the many facets of the black man. "There is no blueprint for the black male and I want the audience to leave knowing and understanding that," she says.
The production, featuring over 100 cast members, will include a compilation of poems, essays, songs, and speeches written by and about black men. Haazim Abdullah will perform several dramatic readings, including Gil Scott Heron's "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Also, he'll perform a monolog of a poem by Daniel Beaty called "Duality." Hixon says it's a modern interpretation of a theme explored in the early 1900's book "The Souls of Black Folk" by W.E. B. Du Bois. "In that book, he talks about double consciousness; the 'two-ness' of African Americans. On the one hand, you're a black American and on the other you're an American. He says something to the effect 'an American, a Negro, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings."
There will be a dramatic reading of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" Speech. There will be monologs based on African Kings. There also will be a number of fun skits, such as "Breezing Brothers," showing the "debonair male, the dresser, the charmer, the cool daddy, the Superfly."
Hixon brings women into the show by creating a group that combines the West African griot and the classical Greek Chorus.
The performance is set for Sunday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. on the UWF MainStage Theater. All tickets for the free program have been reserved. However, seats that are unclaimed by 3:45 will be made available on a first-come, first-served basis to those who show up early to get on a performance-day waiting list.