Being black isn’t easy. Before the content of your character is revealed, the color of your skin will be seen. I continue to see unarmed black men killed while the people of America say: “That’s not my problem.” “He shouldn’t have been there in the first place.” “He deserved it.” “He looked like a thug.” “He was a criminal.” “One less cockroach on the street.”
I thought America learned its lesson from all the racial problems that we had during the 50s, 60s, and 70s. I guess I was wrong. Today’s society is still blind as a bat when it comes to racism and prejudice. It is this unawareness that actively contributes to the detriment of America. For this reason, I created Time For A Change. This piece of fictional theater will educate the people of America about the struggles with equality African Americans face.
John F Kennedy once said, “This nation was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” Racial prejudice does exactly that. It bars people of color from attaining gainful employment. It stops the advancement of blacks in the work place. And it halts people from becoming members of different communities. Even though African Americans have been free for over 150 years, chains of inequality, oppression, and racial prejudice continue to rattle through American society. While some chose to aid in the cause for true liberty and justice for all, others still actively chose to run and hide across arbitrary dividing lines. Let us all remember: “The fight for racial equality is not a black fight or a white fight. It’s an American fight.”
I am eternally grateful to St Lou Fringe for giving me the opportunity to educate the masses about the history of American prejudice. The Fringe truly is a resource that enables artists to come into their own, develop their skills as producers, and make their artwork known in the public square, in a real way. It allows seasoned professionals and first-time producers like myself to meet and talk about show ideas, how to market shows, and grow an audience following.
It is my hope that one day we will all learn from the mistake of our grandfathers and come up with new solutions to provide equal opportunities for all Americans. I personally believe that together we all can make America a better country.
TONY L. MARR, JR., Fringe Artist: A proud UMSL grad with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater and Dance, Tony’s danced for local phenomena Breakdown St. Louis, co-choreographed a solo dance for the UMSL Spring concert, and danced as a solo artist in the St Lou Fringe event "After Orlando." He recently played Winston in "1984," the Reverend in "Gay Fantasia," and the Tinman in "The Wiz."