Feminism is the new black. And although that’s not necessarily a bad thing – not at all, actually – there are a few concerns with this not-so-new concept of women’s equality. Unfortunately, instead of a movement, feminism has largely become a brand, a buzzword albeit. And it’s being used on literally everything. Hats, sweaters, mugs, and even stickers for your laptop. Your laptop. So, it’s no surprise that the definition of feminism is losing its meaning between the merchandise and arguments between you and bae about ‘who pays for dinner’ next.
Nowadays, everyone is a feminist. Jessa Crispin, however, argues otherwise. In her new book, “Why I Am Not a Feminist: A Feminist Manifesto”, Crispin explains the importance of bringing back the true meaning of feminism.
Her inspiration behind the book was simple. After reading up on modern feminist writing over the past five years or so, Crispin claimed to be constantly filled with despair on the content of the writing. And with the ongoing issues around the world, including the rise of the far-right worldwide, mass deportations in America, the shutting down of abortion clinics, she noticed that feminist writing still continues to be mostly concerned with lifestyle choices and pop culture. And that’s not the main priority right now.
“It led to occasions where I had to scream into a pillow. So writing this book was just my way of doing something with that anger so I wasn’t overwhelmed by it anymore.”
“Why I Am Not a Feminist” reminds readers what feminism is really about. As a feminist, men and women should be fighting for the political, economic, and social equality between the sexes. A feminist should recognize that women are oppressed by complicated systems. A feminist should realize that the oppression of women is not limited to the wage gap in North American society, or the prevention of girl on girl hate, or on dress codes that dictate what women should or should not wear.
Upon first glance, one may come to the conclusion that the book is actually calling out ‘white feminism’ – a concept which has gotten an increased amount of attention in recent years. While not outright exclusive, white feminism is about the failure to consider the problems faced by the “average woman” who are often alienated due to their colour, sexuality, cultural practices, and religious beliefs.
Be careful though. It’s not. In fact, Crispin hates the term “white feminism” as she so boldly told Women’s Post.
“It doesn’t really convey the meaning it’s trying to. What it should be is “power feminism,” a kind of pro-woman stance that is interested in the amassing and holding of power. Yes, white women have the most power these days. But the problems related to power feminism — a kind of blind selfishness, a focus on individual success over societal reform, a value system based on money and power and greed — are problems with our whole culture.
Maybe just call it patriarchal feminism!
But yes, feminism has been blind for too long to issues of class and race and sexuality, and it has been reluctant to look at the times when feminism and feminist leaders were racist, homophobic, and xenophobic. You still see this nonsensical resistance to associating themselves with the trans advocacy movement because they can’t move past a biological view of gender, or their lack of empathy and solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. And that’s a symptom of anxiety, that if they admit the humanity of other people — despite the fact that they themselves are begging to have their own humanity recognized — there won’t be enough attention for their own issues.
We’re all in this together. We are suffering under the same system. There has to be a solidarity that transcends race, sexuality, religion, class, and every other marker, so that we can fight effectively.”
So what exactly does Crispin hope you take away from her manifesto? Well, that’s not her job to figure out.
“I write the thing, then it’s up to people to manage their own responses. I’m not trying to abdicate responsibility for the work, I absolutely stand by it. But I don’t really have any expectation that this is going to change feminism. I think the best thing a writer can do is simply to write the material and then get out of the material’s way.”
She’s unapologetic. She’s pertinent. And her new book is a reflection of that. It’ll leave you feeling rather angry, and Crispin’s gallant, at times ranty way of explaining her point of view will only fuel this anger. This is not the type of book you’ll want to read with a cup of tea in your pajamas. It’s the type of book for when you’re looking for that extra jolt of passion required to seek the change you need.
Whether you agree with her views or not, readers should admire the Crispin for her unconventional, yet highly relevant, way of thinking. Essentially, “Why I Am Not a Feminist” is a not-so-friendly reminder that being a feminist isn’t just about wearing a “this is what a feminist looks like” shirt or about re-blogging a gif from a Taylor Swift interview on Tumblr. It’s about looking past that, and focusing on what is important to truly bring about the change towards equality.
“Why I Am Not a Feminist” is now available on Amazon!
What are your thoughts on the book? Let us know in the comments below!
While most people were out on Saturday night enjoying a glass of wine with their girls or at the movies watching Beauty and the Beast with their ‘boo thang’, others were at home on Spotify- listening to their own, mutual ‘boo thang’; Drake. And what a beautiful Saturday evening it was. More Life, since then, has streamed 89.9 million times. That too, in its first 24 hours on Apple Music. That’s a record breaker for the most streams on a single-day album for every music service. Ever. Proud of you, bae!
As fans nodded their heads to the new beats and texted fire emojis to their friends about Canadian artist Drake’s new playlist, one thing became evident quite quickly. More Life is essentially another big ode to Toronto — and people from all across the globe are showing their passion for the big TO. Can you blame them? Direct references to Queen Street and G-way, which is short for Galloway, had Toronto residents gleaming with pride and fans from all around the world looking up references and street maps of the 6ix. Because they too, want to be part of the culture that is Toronto. *Insert Fake Love lyrics here, while sipping tea.*
The playlist (it’s not an album, folks!) has everything Drake fans are looking for – the soothing, deep voice in octaves so low, it’ll make Morgan Freeman wish he jumped on a musical career. Get it Together, for example, is the perfect track for your coffee shop playlist. Madiba Riddim, on the other hand, will have you reminiscing of his older hits, with similar beats and acoustics. But, whether he’s crooning in Passionfruit or dropping bars in Portland, Drake brings forth the wide range and originality that he’s known for. Let’s face it. He’s not pop-y enough to be a pop sensation and not urban enough to be a hip hop star. Drake is his own genre. And a mighty good genre at that.
There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to this playlist. Councillor Norm Kelly can prep his tweets on another Meek Mill and Drake feud, as references can be heard in Free Smoke, the most played track on the playlist. Jennifer Lopez no longer has to explain the Instagram picture that sparked alleged dating rumours between the two. Drake took care of that in two of his tracks as well. Also, he may still have ‘the feels’ for rapper, Nicki Minaj. We’re not sure though.
One thing is for sure – More Life is giving us life.
What are your thoughts on Drake’s new playlist? Let us know in the comments below!
Showcasing diverse voices of girls and young women from North America, Tatiana Fraser and Caia Hagel shift the focus from media’s sensationalist stories to highlight real-life accounts of how girls are making positive change and shaping a new world. Girl Positive looks closely at topics from social media, sexual violence, hypersexuality, and cyberspace, and offers stories of struggle and victory, bringing to light where today’s girls are finding new paths to empowerment.
Girl Positive launches in Vancouver Thursday at the Historic Theatre. To find out more about this unique publications, Women’s Post caught up with co-authors Tatiana and Caia and asked them a few questions. Here’s what they had to say:
Can you tell us more about your new book, Girl Positive?
Tatiana: Girl Positive was published in September by Random House. It explores the political, social, and cultural realities facing young girls and women today. We cover a range of topics; from pop culture to the Internet, to girls and sexuality and we dive into topics such as poverty and racism. We talk about girls as leaders and changemakers. Girl Positive also takes up issues pertaining to girls, power, and relationships and unpacks issues around sexual violence. So, its quite broad in terms of the issues we tackle. We really intended to center girls’ voices and experiences; to hear from them about how they see their world and the issues that they’re dealing with. It was important to get a feel for their inspirations, actions and visions for change.
What was your inspiration behind the book?
Tatiana: As founder of Girls Actions Foundation, I was working with girls, young women, and organizations across the country for many years. It was very clear to me that the issues or the stories and the popular culture and the narratives about girls didn’t line up with girls’ realities. This misalignment was outdated. What we’re doing in the book is re-framing the issues that girls are dealing with in a more complex and holistic way.
Caia: Tatiana and I met when she was still acting director at Girls Action Foundation and I was—and still am—the co-founding creative director of Guerilla Pop Media Lab, an ethical media group. We enjoyed working together and the approach we took to creating a dynamic media platform for the voices of girls and young women and their messages, cross-pollinated in an exciting new way. I’ve been working my whole career in media creating space and visibility for the less visible and often most pioneering voices Girls are an emerging force. In Girl Positive, Tatiana and I merged our skills, our passion for girls, and our belief in their crucial role in co-creating our future, to provide a platform for them to speak from the truth of their experiences. We hardly ever hear from girls themselves about their own lives, even when the stories are about them. In our book, girls speak from their diverse realities. In Girl Positive, all the people who care about girls, including girls about each other, get to know them, get to understand their struggles, see their visions and learn about practical ways to support them in their leadership as they move in to their power.
What was it like to collaborate with each other?
Tatiana: It was a very creative experience for both of us. What’s unique about our collaboration is that by combining our backgrounds and expertise, we were able to make this work accessible to new and broader audiences. Oftentimes, the learning that’s happening around girls and young women is happening in the margins and on the fringe. We wanted to reach every parent and educator across the country- and everyone who cares about girls. That is what is really special about our partnership together.
Caia: We managed to create a holistic space where storytelling could be the means to seeing, hearing and feeling the issues that are at stake in our book, and in the world. We were able to do this because we brought culture and politics together through our backgrounds and complementary expertise. When ‘issues’ are made personal and heartfelt—and we love how the book is just brimming with girls voices, they’re all in there with us, navigating us through their worlds—big things like ‘activism’ and ‘policy change’ become tangible to everyone and like ‘wow, I really get this now and I can be part of it too!’ which is something we really wanted to offer all readers.
You speak about many problems that girls face on a day-to-day basis in your book. Can you tell us more?
Tatiana: We’re both parents. We both have daughters. And so, it was really important for us to focus on girls’ voices and hear their stories. The book weaves together many and diverse experiences that girls are living. Our role is to provide the context and draw on the analysis and the thinking that’s out there. In terms of experience, I can say for myself, that the inspiration for doing and creating spaces for girls and young women came from my own experiences growing up a young woman and a girl. I ended up in Women’s Studies by accident at university and it was transformative for me because I began to see that my experiences growing up with a single mom and seeing issues around violence that my peers were dealing with, or my family had dealt with, issues related to gender violence that often become internalized for girls and young women were in fact social and political issues that I could help change. So, I think we all have our personal journeys that connect to the many issues that we talk about in the book.
Caia: It’s a unique time in history to hear from girls and young women. Technology has allowed them to create a new space for their self-expression that is unfiltered, honest and real—and all over social media and mainstream media feeds, generating attention, noise, controversy and discussion. After having been left out for so long, girls are now able to speak up and push their agendas into culture on their terms. I would have loved to have had the same direct line to participating in collective dialogue as a girl! Tatiana and I both grew up with single moms who were feminists. We happened to have role models who could help us think critically about who we were and what we needed. Resources, mentors and good role models are a crucial part of a girl’s ability to actualize her dreams and the often practical and brilliant solutions she has to some of her own, her community’s and the larger world’s problems. Trusted mentors and resources are also necessary in helping girls live up to and back up what is said on social media, or what we see there because celebrity feminism is so hip right now. There is still a lot of progress to be made that requires all us. Structures can only shift to give these voices real power to lead if a lot of us are involved in supporting this movement, and the girls within it. We hear incredible stories of girls and by girls in our book, who are re-imagining social, cultural, political and economic issues from their unique points of view, informed by their diverse realities and their resilience. Our goal with Girl Positive is to celebrate this by bringing their stories together in one dynamic place. With this, and reflections from experts on some of the topics we cover, as well as our own analysis, we aim to give tools to all of us to support girls so that all girls can be part of shaping the future.
Do you have advice for girls who aren’t feeling so positive, especially in the wake of recent political events?
Caia: We were devastated by the election of Donald Trump. But the truth is that through his alt-right agenda, we are finally seeing and having to politically negotiate with what has always been there but bubbling silently (and violently) in the background. It’s easier to fight what is in the open. Girls, women and the many marginalized groups that are most deeply affected by this administration are feeling a call to action that is unprecedented, and an urgency about using their resources to organize, protest and build against these regressive forces. We see this time of darkness as a great opportunity for large-scale transformations lead by the people who are carrying the visions for a world that is innovative, inclusive and progressing because it reflects our true diversity. The Women’s Marches and the movements of resistance at the Dakota Pipeline and Val D’Or are a great start. It’s as if Trumpmania has opened the door for all of us to use our voices, to get our toolboxes together, and really organize ourselves to make change part of our agenda.
Tatiana: It’s definitely an opportunity. There’s momentum. It’s a unique time. A time for young women and girls leadership for change. It is a time to build on where we’ve come from and to really push for change on many levels. At the same time, it’s a calling to recognize there’s work to do. Part of that work is recognizing the intersecting realities girls and women experience from diverse locations and identities. Women who are coming from issues related to poverty, or women who are dealing with racism have an important perspective, experience and contribution to make to the change. There’s work to do.
What message do you hope to pass on with this book?
Caia: One of the simple ways of accomplishing the goals of the book that we’ve listed above, was to create a ‘survival kit’ at the end of every chapter that offers practical tips about the issues of that chapter to everyone from girls themselves to grandfathers, friends, mothers, teachers, political leaders and coaches—to support those issues and get involved in changing them to empower girls. You don’t have to be wearing a pink hat and a pussy riot scarf and be marching on the streets everyday to make change happen. You can do it in small and large ways, which are equally as meaningful. We took a very passionate and practical approach to creating a book that we hope becomes a handbook for everybody in our collective quest to shape a future that is sustainable, enlightened and populated with leaders who are, and were once, girls.
Your book launches today! What can we look forward to?
Caia: The Cultch theatre (hyperlink to https://thecultch.com/) has started a Femme February month and our panel will be the first event. We will host
an amazing line up of three generations of women who work in the arts, and we will link the stories from our book told by girls to the storytelling they do as writers, actors, activists and directors – and hear from them about the realities they face in the workplace where racism, sexism and ageism are still alive and well. We’re really excited to be participating in this event and having Girl Positive make a splash in Vancouver!
Girl Positive launches in Vancouver today at the Historic Theatre. To find out more about this unique publication, visit their Facebook page!
I recently went to see the movie critics are giving an F-grade: Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice. Before I continue, let me say that I didn’t think the film was absolutely terrible. In fact, there was a lot I enjoyed.
The acting was quite good overall — I really enjoyed Ben Affleck as Batman and Jesse Eisenberg’s version of villain Lex Luther— but the storyline had some pretty big holes that were hard to ignore. The audience was left wondering how Luther knew the secret identities of both superheroes and why he did what he did. The reasons given for the intergalactic throw-down were a bit weak and vague. I’m guessing both characters had a lot of pent up rage to justify that whole battle. The score was also a bit of a jumble, with some strange, clunky, dark music interrupting some what-could-have-been really suspenseful scenes. Where is this storyline supposed to take place in the Batman series anyway?
I still have so many questions…and not in a can’t-wait-for-the-next-film way.
But, I didn’t go to see the movie to see these superheroes throw down. What I really wanted to see was the infamous Amazon Warrior, Diana Prince, a.k.a. Wonder Woman. It’s the first time in about 70 years that this character has been seen in a feature film, and she didn’t disappoint.
Her role in the film is admittedly small. She meets Bruce Wayne (a.k.a. Batman) at one of Luther’s charity events, dressed in a sexy gold dress with a low back. That’s the last time we see the characters interact until the final battle scene when she appears in her warrior garb, ready to battle an alien monster alongside the clueless Batman and Superman — “Is she with you? I thought she was with you?”
I don’t think anyone could argue that Israeli actress Gal Godot didn’t play a kickass female superhero. Her portrayal of Wonder Woman is exactly what I wanted: she was fearless, strong, and didn’t succumb to Wayne’s playboy charm (Catwoman, anyone?). My favourite moment was during the final fight scene, when Wonder Woman was knocked down and she paused for a moment, tilted her head towards the heavens, smiled, and jumped right back into the battle. That smile said everything.
I know a lot about superheroes, but I hate to admit that Wonder Woman has never really held my interest. I didn’t know much about her backstory going into the movie, except that she would probably be wearing something I wouldn’t approve of. Suffice to say, I was pleasantly surprised.
Now, before feminists cry out about her outfit, which admittedly was a bit on the skimpy side, think about it this way: in comparison to the stars and stripes she could have been sporting, the outfit was a bit badass. It covered everything that needed to be covered, and it didn’t accentuate her breasts or thighs as much as I expected. It actually looked more like armour than a showy costume. Yes, her legs showed, but who cares? I was focused more on her muscle than her sexuality.
Wonder Woman will be getting her own film in 2017, which is great news because I think her history is full of things feminists (and I) will love. Her origin story is full of themes of female empowerment — she derives from a tribe of Amazon warriors and in some versions of the story, she is quite literally created by a group of goddesses.
Not to mention she has an awesome right hook.
What did you think of Wonder Woman? Let us know in the comments below!
St. Martin or Sint. Maarten is the smallest island in the world to have two different countries each governing one half. The north side of the island is French, while the south side is Dutch. Our villa, Villa Arches, is on the Dutch side, just south of the French border in Dawn Beach.
The villa is perched on the east side of a mountain and has a wonderful view of dawn beach and the morning sunrise. With warm red italian tiles and wide doors open to let in the cool breezes from the ocean, it is a terrific spot to watch the large boats come in to anchor in the protected cove far below, and also take in some sun and a swim in a good-sized pool.
The villa is well stocked with pots and pans, a coffee maker, and utensils and, unlike a lot of islands, the wifi and electricity was reliable and never went out during our stay.
We had dinner at “Big Fish” a fantastic seafood restaurant in Oyster Pond right beside Dawn Beach. The restaurant is owned by Teresa and Mike Wilson, a terrific couple from Toronto – who started the Fox and Fiddle chain of restaurants. Their sushi chef was terrific, but so too was the snapper, shrimp dinner and passionfruit sorbet. It’s a must visit when in St. Martin.
We drove around the island and stopped at a couple of beaches – Friars Bay, Le Gallion – which were too crowded for our liking. We read about Happy Bay beach, which is a short hike north of Friars bay, and were delighted to find it after a wonderful walk along the coast.
We had lunch in Grand Case and ate at a beach bar with an amazing chef. The beach is narrow with restaurants built right up against it. The only drawback was that it lacked beach chairs, so it is not a great place to take elderly visitors – although the kids enjoyed it.
The butterfly farm is a great place to visit on a sunny day and the market in Marigot (French side) and Phillipsburg (Dutch)- filled with colourful wraps, bags and jewelry were filled with activity.
Villa Arches is conveniently located so that excursions around the island didn’t take more than 30 minutes and it was nice leave the bustle of Marigot and come home to a quiet villa with the sound of waves breaking on the shore far below.
The only negative draw back is for those who must get sun – the villa is tucked onto the east side of the mountain so by 4 p.m. the sun is blocked by the mountain, making late afternoon sun tanning impossible. But, we found that by that time in the day we’d had enough sun that it was rarely missed and the warm breezes with a cocktail sitting out on the deck more than made up for the lack of sun.
Wherever we go, I find it is the people who make or break a vacation. We rented a car from Dollar-Thrifty SXM and unfortunately had a tire blow out on the road. They were terrific people and delivered a new car to our villa. While we waited on the side of the road for our taxi to arrive – numerous locals stopped to make sure we were okay and offer help. The locals are terrific.
The only negative attitudes we experienced during our trip came from the people representing the Westin Resort at Dawn Beach. We were flagged down by two of their sales people – they were friendly but wanted us to scratch some tickets to win a prize once we had taken a 90 minute tour of the Westin Dawn Beach and learned about their fractional ownership units. The sales people warned us that other staff might try to take their commission so we should hold on to our scratch tickets and we could win a stay at the resort, an Ipad, or a$1000. We received two sets of cards – two weren’t winners and two were. But the prize was a stay for four at the Westin Dawn beach that could not be used in the week that they are issued. They were also non-transferrable.
The Westin Resort at Dawn Beach is just down the hill from Villa Arches and I wanted to check out their beach to see if my mother could swim there. I also wanted to check out their service, thinking that if they had to sell fractional ownership it might be abysmal. Customer service is so easy, but can be completely messed up if the staff don’t feel encouraged or supported. We poked around and found the restaurant and beach practically empty. I decided to talk to a supervisor about getting a day pass to review the resort. When I spoke to him to see if we might purchase a day pass in order to review the resort, he claimed they were completely sold out. I told him the place was practically empty, but all he did was shrug. So we decided to ignore him and use the beach facilities anyway.
The beach chairs were mostly empty and the waves were pretty rough, but we had a nice swim and left without anyone the wiser. What irked me most was that the supervisor refused us access to review the resort while, at the same time, they are paying people to go out and lure possible customers into the resort. Terrible management and customer service. If a resort like the Westin at Dawn Beach has to sell fractional ownership then they obviously aren’t providing the highest possible service at the best possible price.
Instead of luring people to the resort with “scratch tickets,” simply try welcoming everyone who walks through the door, offering them a free drink at the beach bar, and enticing them to come back everyday and spend money at the restaurants, on beach chairs, and towels — giving them great service the entire time. It’s much more likely their next stay will be with you. Instead the Westin Dawn Beach gave the impression they were trying to be an “elite” club while behind the doors the room was empty.
I highly recommend spending $3500 and renting Villa Arches for a week – where the customer service from the owner far exceeded anything the Westin Dawn Beach can offer!
“And remember. You are not making footwear. You are not making boots. You are making two and a half feet of irresistible, tubular sex!”
Shoes. I love them. It doesn’t matter how much weight you gain or what mood you are in, shoes will always fit and will ALWAYS look good. A pair of red heels will make your legs look awesome and your bottom…well, I’ll leave the words to describe your own derrière up to you. So, imagine my excitement when my sister approached my family over the holidays with tickets to Kinky Boots, a Tony Award-winning broadway musical entirely about heeled shoes? I was over the moon!
The Toronto Mirvish production of Kinky Boots opened in June 2015, and since then it has been extended three times. The show is inspired by true events and tells the story of a shoemaker’s son, Charlie, who takes over the business and decides to tap into a niche market — making sturdy stilettos for crossdressers. An incredible partnership between Grammy/Tony award-winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper and broadway legend Harvey Fierstein ensured the music was sublime and the characters were loveable.
As we settled into our cramped seats — the Royal Alexander Theatre really packs a crowd and doesn’t provide a lot of leg room — I was a bit worried. Our show featured a lot of understudies and the singing during the opening segment was a bit rough and pitchy. I remember thinking that I had hyped up this production so much that it was going to be a disappointment in the end.
Enter Lola (a.k.a. Simon), played by the absolutely incredible Alan Mingo Jr., a show-stopping drag artist that captivated the audience with her confidence and comedy. Seriously, Mingo Jr. could teach me a few things about high kicks and dancing in 8-inch stilettos. Not only does Mingo Jr. have the moves, but he also has the pipes to play this layered character. With energetic toe-tappers like “Sex is in the Heel” to emotionally-draining ballads like “Not My Father’s Son,” his portrayal of Lola was flawless. Any pitch problems from the rest of the cast was made up by his incredible performance.
It was the women who really made Kinky Boots shine. Lola and her band of Angels had the audience hooting and whistling the whole show with their outrageous outfits and ridiculous dance moves, while Lauren (who is Charlie’s love interest and unexpected business partner) left us in awe with her hilarious numbers. What’s even better is that behind all of the hilarity and production, there were some fantastic voices with unbelievable ranges.
Underneath the fancy shoes and the sparkling outfits, Kinky Boots makes us rethink what the word “acceptance” really means. The show reflects the complex nature of gender and the stigma associated not only with drag, but with what it means to be a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’. It’s about coming into your own and learning to accept the people around us for who they truly are — a lesson that seems even more important to reiterate in the 21st century. Or as Lola liked to say at the beginning of one of her shows, “Welcome ladies, gentlemen and those who are yet to make up your mind.”
I would highly suggest seeing this musical production before it leaves Toronto in March, but who knows? I’m hoping for a fourth extension!
Shakespeare’s Nigga is a modern, contemporary drama of Shakespeare by Joseph Jomo Pierre. The play features Othello, Aaron from Titus Andronicus, Tyrus who is an older slave, The Bard, and Shakespeare’s daughter, Judith on a Southern Plantain. The creator meets the iconic figures that he wrote and it is The Bard revamped. The play begins with the reader riveted into a dream.
I enjoyed the literary and script references that were used by the playwright. He effectively utilized the canon, plots, and Shakespeare’s famous sonnets in a unique way. He was successful in integrating some of Shakespeare’s stylistic features with ease while creating his own point of view. Similar to Shakespeare, there are monologues, sorcery, marriage and tragedy. He creates an ongoing tension throughout the play between Othello and Aaron. Othello is haunted by his former lover Desdemona.
The play had less detail than many plays I’ve read before with minimal setting and props. I understand that from Jomo Pierre’s perspective, it allows more creativity for the director to envision the play. Plays are ideally meant to be seen on a stage, rather than read for the full dramatic effect.
Although I understood the play and the context, I do believe that readers who have never read Othello or Titus Andronicus, may have some difficulty following the book. Readers will have a greater appreciation if they have read Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets prior to reading the contemporary version. They may not understand Aaron’s aggression or the reference to ‘The Dark Lady’. If they do understand, they may not grasp the references.
I really liked the new non-Shakespearian character, Tyrus, but I felt he was underutilized in the play. He has the most depth and provided advice to the other slaves. I wish he appeared in more scenes, especially in the beginning.
Of course, Jomo Pierre’s attempt is no comparison to The Bard himself, but he make a unique play with Shakespeare’s legacy. He was able to take compelling characters and place them in a new environment. If you are a Shakespeare fan, this play is worth a read. Shakespeare’s Niggaappeared at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace in Toronto this year.