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Hey Grinders, it’s Tiffany Vega from the Hip Hop Theater Festival.

I am a 25 year old angry Latin chick. You may ask why am I so angry. Is it because of the nBill O’Reilly keeps on spewing about immigration? Is it because I will be paying off my student loans
until I’m 50? Or is it because it poured rain on the one day I decided to straighten my hair (Carajo!).

No.

I am angry because leaders in the theatre industry, through their actions and inactions, show that they believe that plays by and about people of color and the impoverished do not belong on the stage, unless it can be mainstreamed enough or has a massive movie star in it.

God forbid if their baby boomer subscribers and audience members see the struggles of a black social worker who tries to help a 10 year old du-rag, baggy jean wearing, gifted black child from the projects whom she believes is being abused.

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This may make them feel uncomfortable and challenge their beliefs. Maybe Denzel Washington in Fences will make them feel better about the struggles of poor black people in America. I am tired of hearing leaders of theatre organizations say that their audiences cannot relate to works about people of color, therefore it will not sell.

My question is, are you making your plays accessible to people from the Barrios and ‘Hoods, the people that can actually relate to these stories? Are you inviting these same people to your other plays that have white characters and stories? What makes you think that I, as a young Latina woman, am not capable of relating to

August: Osage County, but West Side Story must be WAY more relatable to me? If you did this, then maybe audiences of color will feel more comfortable in attending the theatre and will start becoming reliable ticket buyers.

Leaders of theatre organizations need to start understanding that this country is becoming browner and browner and our stages should start reflecting this. White audience members should start seeing what Brown America is really like: diverse and full of as much drama as you can ever imagine. Punto.

Tiffany Vega

10th NYC Hip-Hop Theater Festival
Celebrating Ten Years of Culture in Action

Sept 25th – Oct 16th

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