So I arrive in Belgium, it was to be their first Black History Month, and Black Theatre Festival, in the history of the country. They were going to open the Theatre festival on Bob Marley’s birthday. I arrived at the theater, and I asked the producer, where are the rest of the artist, that will be performing at the festival? They said to me, “Your it.” I was the only black artist they booked, at the very first Belgium National Theatre Festival. For the very first Black History Month. Talking about pressure, they had put me in a position to have to represent the entire black diaspora from America.
The good thing about being the only black theater performer in Belgium at the time. Was that, when Belgium’s National Radio, and Paper needed a black artist to interview from the very first black theater festival, I was it. Take it or leave it. The first thing I asked when I arrived at the first black theater festival was, is it going to snow? Because it was painfully cold. They said to me, ” No, it never snows this time of year.” The week that I was there, they had the worst blizzard in the history of Belgium. Never lie to the only black performer, of the first black history festival of Belgium. Being the only black artist, I suggested to them, that if they were planning to have a second black history month, and festival in the future. And if they wanted more than one black person to show up, including black patrons.
They best have it in the summertime. The title at the top of this news article reads, “THE PAIN OF BEING BLACK IN AMERICA”. They should have entitled it, THE PAIN OF BEING BLACK IN BELGIUM DURING THE WORST BLIZZARD IN HISTORY. ” And they weren’t done. After surviving Belgium’s worst snow storm, they had the bright idea of me interviewing one of the Move Organization 9, Mumia Abu Jamal. Who’s members were on the run, and hiding out in Antwerp somewhere, from the CIA and FBI. I now felt like the Ving Rahmes character in Mission: Impossible,Luther Stickell. But this mission, I refuse to accept. Little did I know that the people that were helping them hide, were the same producers of the first black theatre festival of Belgium.
One night, the Move organization members who were in hiding, decided to come out of hiding. They just happened to show up at the theater, that I was performing at. And participated in a panel discussion. Was this a coincidence? That is when I put two and two together, and realized that the people that were hiding the Move people, were the same people that hired me for the first black theater festival of Belgium. Who were these people that hired me anyway?
The children of the Belgium Resistance? And what have I gotten myself into? I soon realized that my show was just a cover, code named, The First Black Theater Festival of Belgium. In order to have their secret panel discussion. I was like the black Patty Hearst, brained washed, in order to participate in their elaborate scheme. Luckily for me, Belgium’s airport strike had just ended, and I flew my black ass out of there on the next possible flight.