Woke Black Folk: A One Woman Show

Joshua Letona, Contributing Writer

Last Thursday, Cal State LA presented “The Intersection: Woke Black Folk,” written and starring Funmilola Fagbamila. The show examines the complex differences in black political identities while also critiquing them.

In the show, groups like the activists and academics are arguing over the suspicion that neither side is doing enough for the cause. The theme of intersectionality weaves itself through as issues regarding race, gender, and class overlap for the black community.

Each character performed by Fagbamila represents a different ideology. By arguing their points one after another, the characters allowed the audience to see a bit of themselves in each rendition, just like it did for attendee Steven Martin.

“Speaking as a black man, you can see part of yourself in every character; the things you relate to and agree with, but also the aspects that are problematic,” said Martin. “Every character, every viewpoint, is valid and with that, there should be more of a collective and putting their strength together for empowerment.”

Fagbamila explained that her characters are not to be agreed with completely. The problem they now face has moved past fighting against oppressors. Instead, each faction believes they are the sole ones who are right and are unwilling to hear the other side, which effectively halts any progress.

Cal State LA junior Corrine Baptiste recognized the characters based off her own experiences.

“The hotep was very spot on. Hearing what Fagbamila was saying as that character, I can hear that person say those things,” said Baptiste.

Fagbamila explained that the show is a work in progress, originating from a poem that she wrote titled “Woke Black Folk.”

“The importance of the show is showing the different perspectives that exist and how understand each other better. It doesn’t mean agreeing with each other, but for the sake of us all having a common goal, which is to transform the condition of black people and by default all people,” said Fagbamila.