“If you broke and black, we got yo back!
Jordan E. Cooper’s Ain’t No Mo’, starts off at a funeral, that leads to a church service where Pastor Freeman (Marchánt Davis) spouts words like the n-word and bitches. It is November 4, 2008 and Barack Obama has been elected. The audience is asked to repeat after him, “The President is my [n-word]. This is mean to
Three of the skits seems based on George C. Wolfe’s The Colored Museum, which premiere at the Public, in 1986. In that show a flight attendant happily welcomed audiences onto a “celebrity slave ship” headed from the Ivory Coast to Savannah. “We will be crossing the Atlantic at an altitude that’s pretty high, so you must wear your shackles at all times.”
Here a pink wigged flight agent named Peaches (Cooper) is helping people onto an African American airlines vessel to the destination of origin at gate 1619. 1619 refers to August 20, 1619 when approximately 20 blacks arrived by ship in Jamestown, Virginia. Many consider this beginning of slavery in America.
Another skit takes place in the Sister Girl We Slay All Day ‘Cause Beyoncé Say Community Center, where women who are pregnant wait for their abortions. They no longer want the pain of losing children to beatings and shootings.
“Seems like niggas will never accept any other nigga that don’t fit into their tiny idea of what a nigga can be,”
We also get The Real Baby Mamas of the South Side, where Rachonda (Simone Recasner) is a blinged-out white lady who identify as black and use to be “Rachel” as the shows “trans-racial” cast member . I am surprised that this didn’t go on further, because what this skit was saying is you can be who you identify with, you just might not be accepted. There is a skit about being let of prison prison, which again has some double edged meanings. The last skit involves members of an upper-class black family that are determined not to look back at their ancestral past.
Cooper is accompanied with a talented group of actors including Marchant Davis, Fedna Jacquet, Crystal Lucas-Perry, Ebony Marshall-Oliver, and Simone Recasner, who are high voltage actors at the top of their game.
Under Stevie Walker-Webb’s direction, this show is raw with a no holds barred approach. It almost feels like sketch comedy gone askew.
Set designer Kimie Nishikawa, lighting designer Adam Honoré and sound designer Emily Auciello do such creative work within this space and add to the enjoyment.
Much of this show is amusing in a vulgar kind of way. It’s material seems ripped for the media. It is gut wrenching and heartbreaking all in the same breath.
All though out this a character named as Miss Bag holds what African American’s have contributed. When it comes time to board the plane back to the motherland, Miss Bag flatly refuses causing Peaches to miss her flight. It seems that the heart and soul about an exodus of black Americans wanting to leave a country plagued with injustice is more about wanting to stay and be recognized for who they are and what they have offered.
Ain’t No Mo: The Public Theatre, 425 Layfette St. until May 5th.