Black Lives Matter Street Theater at the MLA

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

photo by Michigan Municipal League

At the Modern Language Association (MLA) annual convention in Philadelphia this year, we got to see some of the “Creative Responses to Black Lives Matter”

They included:

  • A filmed street theater presentation on “The Shooting of Africa,” presented by Kimberly Welch of UCLA, and featuring actors with signs.
  • A group called #JusticeforFlint, that did a rap & music video which featured such lyrics as “Flintstones, yabba dabba do is a negro spiritual” and “Ready for your poison, the girls and boys in…,” which was presented by Elizabeth Anne “Betsy” Wheeler of the University of Oregon.
  • A video entitled 11-10-10 by Alexandria Eregbu presented by Misty De Berry of Northwestern. It featured the filmmaker, Ms. Eregbu, playing laying face down on the streets of Chicago as passers-by walked past. The movements of two of them were scrutinized by the audience at the MLA panel discussion replete with freeze frames. One wonders if their ears were burning somewhere in the Midwest as they were deconstructed at the MLA.

Nevertheless, the deconstruction was not physical. Although you might argue that creativity should come more naturally to the MLA, the largest association of professors in the world, you have to give them credit. No people or property were harmed in the above presentations.

Photo by Michigan Municipal League (MML)