The Story Behind The Story
Updated: Jun 9, 2022
Why I wrote Whose Side Are You On?
My best friend’s father, Reverend Johnson, asked me to write a play about gang and gun violence. “Sure,” I said and gave him a skeleton script believing it was just another church play.
Unfortunately, Reverend Johnson was not able to produce the play because, sadly, he later died of cancer. I felt I needed to produce it in honor of Reverend Johnson’s memory. But I kept putting it off till I felt the play was ready to be produced. During this time, I met a young man in my coop building that I felt a motherly connection too. We had conversations in passing. From our conversations, I knew he was a foster child and I also knew he was struggling to be somebody. I decided that I would approach him and tell him, I wanted to take him under my wing and make him part of my family.
I never got to tell him because he was killed. He was hit by a train running from the police in Brooklyn. From what I understood, he didn’t have to run.
I wept. No, I cried. I knew him deeply but never knew his name. So, I asked his foster mother, “What was his name?” She replied, “Lamont.” I was stunned because Lamont is the lead character of the musical, “Whose Side Are You On?” That’s when I knew the show must go on. So, in November 2019, with negative zero in the bank, the play was produced at Riverside Goddard Bernie Wohl Community Center in New York City. It was a joyous occasion. I, sometimes, wonder if I intervened earlier, maybe Lamont would still be alive today.
“Whose Side Are You On?” is to choose the right path, no matter the circumstances. How is it working for you on the road you’re on now? Why not try another route. God has given us the gifts – the tools to make a difference. Lamont represents the voiceless and I need for you all to hear him. My gift is the mighty pen. Your gift is to bring it to life.