I watched a very important piece of theatre today. I’d heard so much about this For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy and wondered whether it could possibly live up to the hype. I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews but the title is a bit of a giveaway. The Apollo was packed with what looked to me like a very young audience. There was also something I hadn’t really seen before in the west end which was black men going to the theatre (in numbers) together with other black men 🤷🏽♂️
As soon as it started, it was obvious that this was a little different. Black men being black men. Not just the machismo we are used to but the vulnerable, the gay, the lonely and the muted. I remember hosting a Black History Month event once where a CEO said. “We have realised there is a big difference between diversity and inclusion. Diversity is letting people of colour in and inclusion is letting them dance” Never forgotten that because there are so many times where people feel as though they can’t be themselves. This play explores the pressure men and society put on themselves to live up to a particular stereotype. It doesn’t hold back either. It was at times very funny and at others uncomfortable to watch real vulnerability. Made up from the stories of real men, it really struck a cord with the audience and after my friend Lawrence’s passing, definitely with me. The standing ovation at the end felt like we all appreciated that this was a special moment. It was only after reading the brochure that I realised this was a multi award winning piece of theatre which had been around for a while. I’m guessing some of you have seen it already and know what I am talking about. Bravo to all those involved.
I would say go to see it but you’ll struggle now. The word is already out.