Idris Goodwin is an award winning hip-hop playwright, break beat poet, recording artist and teacher committed to making work that incites, inspires and engages. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Idris a Playwright-in-Residence grant to explore hip-hop aesthetics in theater. Idris' break beat poetry was featured on HBO's Def Poetry Jam as well as the Spoken Word Revolution Redux Anthology. Idris frequently teaches and lectures at institutions across the country on themes of art and activism.
Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai is a Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based, Chinese Taiwanese American spoken word artist who has given over 275 performances worldwide in venues like the Nuyorican Poets Café, House of Blues, Apollo Theater in Harlem, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center and three seasons on HBO's Def Poetry Jam. Her current projects include a recently released CD Infinity Breaks and her solo show The Grieving Room.
Usman Ally is a Pakistani national who was born and raised in Southern and Eastern Africa for 18 years. Usman made his Chicago theatre debut in Tranquility Woods at Steppenwolf Theater Company. His one man show Public Enemy was featured in Remy Bumppo's thinkTank last season. He has appeared in productions at Victory Gardens Theater, Lookingglass Theatre, American Theatre Company and A Red Orchid Theatre. He is founder of the University of Florida's first hip-hop theatre troupe, One Nation. He was named New City's Best Actor 2008.
This post-show discussion immediately followed the performance of American Ethnic, a spoken word and hip-hop infused exploration of how the media shapes the way we see race, gender and ourselves. American Ethnic was written and performed by hip-hop theater artist Usman Ally, NEA Award-winning performer Idris Goodwin and three time HBO Def Poetry Jam performer Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai. It was directed by Remy Bumppo Artistic Associate Nick Sandys.
Remy Bumppo's thinkTank features short dramatic works with a focus on provoking timely conversation about a social, political or economic issue in which Chicago citizens have a stake. A post-show discussion follows, led by speakers from the community representing various viewpoints on thinkTank's theme. Past topics include immigration (2007) and national security (2008).
Recorded Saturday, March 28, 2009 at The Greenhouse Theater.