Caught an impressive one-man show Saturday night presented free at Wellesley College’s Alumnae Hall by Roger Guenveur Smith, an actor who brings escaped-slave-turned-abolitionist Frederick Douglass to life through a spoken and sung monologue that mixes the words of Douglass among cultural references from the 1800s to today.
Audience members called his performance “profound” as well as “disturbing.” The event was offered by the Newhouse Center for the Humanities. (Guenveur Smith is shown here during the post-performance Q&A session.)
Highlights included words from the famous Douglass speech from 1852 dubbed “The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro” and a letter from Douglass to his former “owner”.
Guenveur Smith might be familiar to you from the movies and TV. He has been in a number of Spike Lee movies, including “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X” as well as TV shows such as “Oz.”
Here’s a YouTube video that gives a flavor of what Guenveur Smith does (though he didn’t break into this full rap over the weekend):
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