Audience: Amandla Stenberg
Black When I️ Was A Boy is a fearless, unfettered and heartfelt exploration of growing up black in America. It is astounding in the first place to traverse this harrowing tale of a black boy coming of age in an alienating white environment where he can see no one like himself. It is a reckoning to witness as he navigates the looming task of unpacking what it is to be black in a country built upon the commodification of his fear - which he is routinely reminded of by incessant dehumanizing acts of verbal and physical violence. But what is so arresting and moving about this piece is the ethos of compassion, honesty, bravery and ethereal light that the artist maintains in response to such dehumanization. His perspective is so unique and yet the wisdom he offers through his actions are universal and grounding. And he does it all with such joy and humor. Through this coming of age narrative you are given a very precious seed of hope to carry while facing a world that feels incredibly divisive. The piece breathes with an engaging magnetism as the artist flawlessly maneuvers between a hefty myriad of distinct and vivid characters. You are given a thorough and visceral look into this black boy's world - the imagery is simply an absolute pleasure to watch. It is hilarious and entertaining, it's beautifully executed, it's profound and it shines with its simplicity and honesty. You'd be a sucker to miss it.