In his 1958 personal autobiography cum manifesto Here I Stand, Paul Robeson reflected on the ways in which other interest groups can manipulate a minority’s voice, in words that could apply to almost any constituency: “Effective Negro leadership must rely upon and be responsive to no other control than the will of their people…. Negro action cannot be decisive if the advisers and helpers hold the guiding reins. For no matter how well-meaning other groups may be, the fact is our interests are secondary at best with them.”
In other words, who will write the script for Jane Doe? Andy likes to believe it’s “my words reflecting your truth.” But will he, as a kind of benevolent racist Pigmalion, just serve to turn her homelessness, her womanhood, her Blackness, into merely another commercial marketplace commodity, while keeping a job for himself? As for Harold Cain, “There is no freedom of the press. The truth is whatever we say it is.” (almost literally from The Cradle Will Rock). The play takes place in “An American City. Now.” but its implications are universal.