(LOS ANGELES, CA) -- WACO Theater Center, in partnership with Newark Symphony Hall and Yendor Theatre Company, will host “A Revolutionary Roundtable,” a virtual conversation featuring Black freedom fighters discussing what it means to be revolutionary. Moderated by The New York Times contributing critic-at-large and recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2022 Salamishah Tillet, the panel includes Melina Abdullah, Adebunmi Gbadebo and Junius Williams, and will premiere at 5:00pm PT / 8:00pm ET on May 17.
“There’s a self-education aspect of being a revolutionary—you have to educate yourself; you have to know who you are,” said Williams. “If you really want to make change, you can’t do it by yourself—you have to educate people. Find out what your vision is and then bring people along toward that vision.”
The panel concludes a series of three virtual events leading up to the Fall 2022 premiere of the play-on-film Black Terror, this Fall, directed by WACO’s Co-Artistic Director Richard Lawson and adapted from Richard Wesley’s Drama Desk Award-winning play. The first virtual event took place on March 15 and featured Tina Knowles Lawson, Elaine Brown and other revolutionary women discussing the role Black women play in movements of social change, and the second event took place on April 19 and featured Richard Lawson and Richard Wesley discussing the 50th anniversary Black Terror.
“Revolution starts as a recognition that we cannot be tethered to these unjust systems, we have to untether ourselves from unjust systems,” said Abdulah. “We cannot be seeking a comfortable place in oppression…be radical enough, revolutionary enough to imagine something different.”
Originally released in 1971 at the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theater, Black Terror is considered a seminal work from the Black Arts Movement of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and has now been reimagined by Wesley and Lawson for a new generation living in the age of Black Lives Matter.
Panelists on “A Revolutionary Roundtable” include:
* Melina Abdulah, an activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Los Angeles, and a professor and former chair of Pan-African Studies at California State University, LA.
* Adebunmi Gbadebo, an artist who creates sculptures, prints and paper using historical and cultural imbued materials. Currently focused on her “True Blue and Land for Sale” series, Gbadebo investigates the complexities around land, erasure and value in the American south.
* Junius Williams, an advocate and nationally recognized attorney, musician, educator and independent thinker who has been at the forefront of the Civil Rights and Human Rights Movements in the USA for decades. His life in the Movement in the South and the North has been chronicled in the Civil Rights History Project, a collaborative initiative of the Library of Congress and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Smithsonian Institution.
WACO Theater Center is a performing and visual arts organization dedicated to the empowerment of Los Angeles artists and stories of the African diaspora.
Founded in 2016, WACO opened its doors to the public in 2017. Located in the heart of North Hollywood’s Arts District, the state-of-the-art complex includes a 99-seat theater, an art gallery space and is the home of Richard Lawson Studios. Over its five-year history, WACO has invested in more than 700 artists and 1000 young people in Los Angeles and beyond. WACO is committed to providing a creative center where art can occur and give artists and youth a place to grow their talent and celebrate their artistry.
Born in 1925, Newark Symphony Hall (NSH) has been the home of almost a century of arts and culture in what is now one of New Jersey’s oldest and largest arts and entertainment venues. NSH remains as committed as ever to providing an artistically rich experience for art lovers of all ages, while creating career pathways for people of color from around the world – and bettering both its community and the Greater Newark region.
Yendor Theatre Company, co-founded in 2016 by Rodney Gilbert and Andrew Binger, develops, produces and celebrates works by historically resilient Black and Brown writers, women writers and writers from the LGBTQ+ community. Their work explores challenging themes such as police brutality, mental illness and racism, while also celebrating beautiful ones like forbidden love, community building and faith.