YOUR NAME: Jahi Kassa Taharqa
YOUR CHARACTERS NAME: Walter Lee
CHARACTER TRAITS: Ambitious, focused, survivor
FAVORITE LINE: “And we have decided to move into our house because my father – my father – he earned it for us brick by brick. We don’t want to make no trouble for nobody or fight no causes, and we will try to be good neighbors. And that’s all we got to say about that. We don’t want your money.”
Why did you become interested in this production?
This piece is timeless, epic, and so triumphantly conveys the struggle of the Black experience in America. It’s all so very personal for me and it is my hope to pay homage to this production, Lorraine Hansberry, and my people through my craft.
Do you share any similarities with the character you are portraying?
To some degree, I suppose I share the character’s conviction and fight to better himself or certainly to have the desire to leave a footprint on this walk called life.
This show takes on the themes of racial intolerance, the discovery of one’s culture and sacrificing for family – all themes that are still relevant in today’s world. How are you preparing to tackle these themes and what message do you want to portray to audiences?
While I don’t take for granted the necessary work that goes into developing a character, this role is almost a testimony to my own experience. I am now around the same age Walter Lee and have experienced to some degree a lot of the pitfalls and discontent that he deals with. I want to get on that stage and convey the honesty of the man, through his highs and his lows. I want people to see the full measure of this human being and be able to adequately draw conclusions on all the dimensions presented.