(COLUMBIA, SC) — In light of events occurring within the past several years, it seems that tragedy has struck the black community back-to-back in the form of police brutality, harassment, and hate crimes. Such tribulations are not foreign to Black Americans, however, the buildup of broken black bodies and false accusations has left them distressed and gasping for air in the congested minefield of civil injustice. Cries for respect and human decency from police have exponentially evolved into a sonic boom for all the world to hear. One may wonder, where does the black police officer stand on these matters? Which side should they choose– the black or the blue side? Stuck in the crosshairs of their blackness and profession, the double consciousness of the black police officer is examined in the award-winning play “Don’t Call Me Brother” which has its SC premiere at the WOW Performing Arts Center March 15-31st. On Sunday, March 18th the show will include a post-show panel with Richland County Sherrif’s Department.
“Don’t Call Me Brother” is written by creative activist Jeanette Hill, directed by William Young IV and Tangie Beaty of WOW Productions and stars Rod Lorick as the lead protagonist Andrew Merritt and Glenn Johnson as Hassan, the protagonist’s activist brother. Andrew Merritt is a black cop who receives a promotion after the killing of a black youth at the hands of a fellow police officer. The odd timing of the opportunity paired with constant criticism from his activist brother, Hassan, throws Andrew into a seemingly inescapable struggle. As the tug-of-war between his profession and his community begins to take a toll on him, Andrew is led to question where his loyalties lie. His job or his people? Black or Blue?
“Last month, a photo of a black cop guarding white supremacist at a KKK rally spread like wildfire on the internet due to its relevant and thought-provoking nature. The photo of the cop who embodies strength, resilience, and honor while protecting those who pride themselves in their public display of hatred for him sparks an irony worth noting,” says playwright Jeanette Hill of J.W. Hill Productions, LLC.
“It’s themes such as what’s captured in this photograph that makes “Don’t Call Me Brother” such a timely and necessary play to explore the dilemma and double consciousness of being a cop and a black man at the same time. I’m so thankful for the awards recognition by the Atlanta Black Theater Festival.”