This is a trio that needs to go on tour: On May 23, one of the most coveted tickets of the New York City theatrical season won’t be for any Broadway show, but for famed cultural center 92Y (not to be confused with the YMCA), which will host acclaimed actors Phylicia Rashad and André Holland (Moonlight, Selma) in a dramatic reading of selections from Toni Morrison’s latest book, The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations.
The event was commissioned as part of the 92Y Poetry Center’s 80th anniversary season, and has been curated by Morrison scholar and Chair of Columbia University’s new African American and African Diaspora Studies Department, Professor Farah Jasmine Griffin. Griffin most recently joined the literary icon at 92Y for a conversation about Morrison’s 2015 novel God Help the Child.
As The Root reported on Morrison’s latest release, The Source of Self-Regard is a meditation “upon her own remarkable body of work as well as the state of our society, nation, race relations and the purpose of art and artistry itself—particularly by black artists like herself.” I wrote in February:
Proving Morrison to be one of our most incisive cultural critics as well as a creative force, her latest work is a nonfiction collection comprising four decades’ worth of thought on topics as seemingly diverse as feminism, colonization and the colonialist mentality, immigration, and Americanism vs. Africanism. It is equal parts analysis, musing, and eulogy—for Martin Luther King, Jr., James Baldwin and the thousands killed on September 11, 2001.
“Toni Morrison’s words ring with clarity, wisdom, compassion, and beauty,” said Rashad in a release. “It is an honor to speak them aloud.”
For the Tony-winning Rashad and rising film and Broadway star Holland—who will next appear in the highly anticipated High Flying Bird—to take on the work of one of the world’s most revered writers and intellectuals promises to be nothing short of transcendent (and admittedly, has this writer considering a trip to New York City for this once-in-a-lifetime event).
“With The Source of Self-Regard, Toni Morrison further cements her reputation as the towering literary figure of our time,” said Griffin. “Her intellect, like her prose, is original, incisive and illuminating. Hers is a voice we urgently need now more than ever, and I am honored to join these great artists as we bring that voice to the stage of the 92nd Street Y.”
The 92Y’s Unterberg Poetry Center on Thursday, May 23 at 7:30 pm. Tickets will soon be available on their website. While you’re there, take note that Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie will be appearing on May 30 to discuss her new novel, Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions, along with writer Nathan Englander.