To be a black person in America, James Baldwin once said, was to be “in a state of rage almost all of the time.” Decades after his death, that sentiment, echoed in many countries in the West, still resonates.
In collaboration with the Eccles Centre at the British Library, WritersMosaic presents an evening of writers and music celebrating James Baldwin’s centenary.
As a public speaker and writer on civil rights and on human relationships, Baldwin’s electrifying combination of emotional realism and moral strength – grappling with the racism, homophobia and brutality in a time of protest in the United States – still inspires marginalised voices everywhere.
Colin Grant is joined by the writers Mendez, Chitra Ramaswamy and Vanessa Kisuule to reflect on Baldwin’s prescience, and how his writing was informed by love, political activism, religion and the Blues. The singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Angeline Morrison also performs on the night. Missohio create a short film journeying around him, and the British Library theatre will be suffused with live Jazz informed by Baldwin’s music collection. Burt Caesar will read selected extracts from Baldwin’s writing.
Burt Caesar is an actor and director working extensively across theatre, television, and film, and is a broadcaster on BBCR4. He is a former Associate Director at the Royal Court Theatre and an Artistic Adviser at RADA. Burt played the role of Meridian in the British premiere of Baldwin’s Civil Rights era tragedy, Blues for Mr Charlie (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield) and curated the programme The Price of Baldwin’s Ticket at the BFI. Burt has contributed to previous SpeakySpokey salons including performances of Derek Walcott’s epic poem ‘The Schooner ‘Flight’