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Celebrated poet and activist Amiri Baraka takes the stage to interview prominent stage and film actor Stephen Henderson—one of the foremost interpreters of the August Wilson canon. As contemporaries, Baraka and Henderson came of age in turbulent and exciting times. Join us as these two powerful thinkers discuss their ideas, influences, and inspirations.
Stephen Henderson is an actor who is especially recognized as a veteran performer of August Wilson’s canon. Most recently, he portrayed Jim Bono in the Broadway revival of August Wilson’s Fences starring Denzel Washington for which Henderson received a Tony nomination as a supporting actor. He also received the Richard Seff Award from Actor’s Equity for that performance. On Broadway, he has performed in Drowning Crow, the revival of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, and King Hedley II. Henderson is known for his role as Arthur in the acclaimed HBO film, Everyday People. In addition to his films, Henderson has been cast as a recurring character Omar on the FOX series New Amsterdam, which premiered in early 2008. His work as an actor, director, and educator has been documented in the book, Acting Teachers of America, and also in the Oxford University Press African American National Biography. He currently teaches in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Amiri Baraka is the author of over 40 books of essays, poems, drama, and music history and criticism, a poet icon, revolutionary political activist and occasional controversial voice who has recited poetry and lectured on cultural and political issues extensively in the USA, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe. With influences on his work ranging from musical orishas such as Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, and Sun Ra to the Cuban Revolution, Malcolm X and world revolutionary movements, Baraka is renowned as the founder of the Black Arts Movement in Harlem in the 1960s. The movement and his published and performance work, such as the signature study on African-American music, Blues People (1963) and the play Dutchman (1963) practically seeded “the cultural corollary to black nationalism” of that revolutionary American milieu. His awards and honors include an Obie, the American Academy of Arts & Letters award, the James Weldon Johnson Medal for contributions to the arts, Rockefeller Foundation and National Endowment for the Arts grants, Professor Emeritus at the State university of New York at Stony Brook, and the Poet Laureate of New Jersey.
Jessica Lynne and DéLana R.A. Dameron reflect on ways they make a home, creatively, wherever they are.