Barbara Ann Teer, founder of the National Black Theatre, has passed away. On Monday, July 28, I had the privilege of witnessing part of the funeral procession through the streets of Harlem. It was a celebration of the life of a driving force in American performance. She helped forge a new path for live Theater, championing the cultures of people of African descent.
Reading about her legacy, I realize how indebted I am, as an artist of color, to her dedication to changing the fields of arts and entertainment. At the same time, I recognize this moment as one of reflection.
I, and future generations, and the beneficiary of that struggle. And as I reflect on this sentiment, I am filled with humility and awe at the task before me. As an artist of color, I embrace my role in this ongoing legacy. I am hopeful to make my own mark in the African-American cultural tradition.
Yet at the same time, I am intrigued and motivated by the opportunities to reach, speak to, and speak for, a broader audience…and because of the work of people like Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, I know that I can.
Rest In Peace.