Spike Lee's Passing Strange opens today in New York City. And if you know anything about what's what in the advancement of black expression in the American arts [or want to know] then you should know everything about Passing Strange. The hit Broadway musical about a young black man determined to look beyond his imposed black reality and find his own reality in the larger world. The show, infused with rock, blues, indie-alternative, created so much buzz last year people were traveling from the Serengeti to catch a peek. I'm lying, but you get the point. Now let me set the record straight: Spike Lee is not the man or the mind behind the Tony Award-winning musical Passing Strange. The creative geniuses are Stew and his cohort Heidi Rodewald. Spike Lee, like myself, saw Passing Strange on Broadway last year and fell in love with the display of black middle-class, progressive ideas, free love, ex-patriotism and original music. Spike Lee, unlike myself, had the genius idea [and revenue] to film the production and provide the world a chance to see it at a theater near you. It's available ON DEMAND starting August 26.
This is my suggestion: if you ever sat in a movie theater or a stage play and wanted to experience [or be challenged by] a story where blackness is not defined by moral conservatism, violence, or thug-thirsty black women then Passing Strange is your ticket. I may be a bit biased. Just a wee little bit. I saw the musical three times and two friends of mine, the uber-talented Colman Domingo and Eisa Davis [yes, Angela Davis' niece], are in it and they provide enough charisma and gift to bring you to your feet. It opens in NYC and Los Angeles today and if you're in those cities or anywhere near those cities, or have friends/family in those cities, buy your ticket now. You will be refreshingly and spiritually satisfied.
Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.