Aesthetically Speaking

Artspeak: A sister on “Sistas The Musical,” Off Broadway

img 3337Sistahtime–hanging out with my girrrrlfriends–is always quality time. But when I get to hang out with my real sister, it’s the bomb—in the words of MasterCard, “priceless.”

From the opening song of “Wade in the Water” to the closing with the Sister Sledge classic “We are Family,” “Sistas-the Musical” takes us through an arc of love, conflict, faith, loss of faith, sexual abuse, recovery, being single, interracial relations, coming of age, coming full circle to family (sistas) love and support and the legacy of hope and resilience we have to or hope to pass on.

Through a medley of songs that draw upon gospel, the blues, R&B, hip hop, and all of our African American musical traditions, we are given insight into the trials and tribulations of four Black women (three sisters and one daughter/niece) who grapple with the messy course of their lives as they prepare for a memorial to their grandmother and great grandmother. There is tension manifested in dialog and song as this journey down memory lane through mementos tucked in attic allows them to tell their own stories of past and present. There are silences and secrets revealed of experiences of Jim Crow segregation, Black women working as domestics in the homes of white women, the silence of sexual abuse, marital abandonment, the naïveté of white women always seeing the world only through their lens of privilege, cautions of being willing to do anything for love, and ultimately redemption, reconciliation, concessions and above all hope and love for sistas and family.

img 3339If you are a music aficionado, old school music lovers, connoisseurs of Beyoncé, Indie Arie, Jill Scott, Erika Badu, Diana Ross, Ma Rainey, Billie Holiday, Patti LaBelle, Mary J. Blige and some whom I’ve forgotten–apologies– this is the show for you.

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Irma McClaurin
is an award winning columnist, who is now syndicated. She recently earned the 2015 Best in the Nation, Emory O. Jackson Column Writing for the Black Press of America, presented by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) at the 75th Anniversary of its annual convention. The award is named after Emory O. Jackson, a Civil Rights activist and editor of the Birmingham News from 1941-1975. She is the Culture and Education Editor for Insight News, an activist anthropologist, writer, motivational speaker and proponent of diversity and inclusiveness leadership. Contact: Find her at:, @mcclaurintweets

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August 17, 2015
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