The murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd have sparked global protests, elicited calls for record voter turnout in the 2020 Elections, and amplified the voices of a new generation of civil rights activists. The tenacity of the youth-driven Black Lives Matter Movement inspired award-winning playwright, actress, and vocalist Mzuri Moyo Aimbaye to commemorate Juneteenth by presenting a free virtual performance of her one-woman stage play about the legendary civil and voting rights activist, Fannie Lou Hamer.
Featuring a special introduction from Joy Reid, host of MSNBC’s AM Joy, “The Fannie Lou Hamer Story” (FLHS) will broadcast on social media channels Friday, June 19, 2020 at 8 PM ET and will be followed by a panel discussion moderated by coordinator of Black Youth Vote Georgia, Mary Pat Hector.
“Juneteenth recognizes the ending of slavery in the USA, which should have automatically granted Black Americans certain rights, including the right to vote. Instead, White people created Black Codes, poll taxes, literacy tests and other tricks to keep us oppressed and prevent fair representation,” said Aimbaye whose powerful soprano voice has taken her from her hometown of Paterson, NJ, to New York’s prestigious Lincoln Center and venues throughout Europe.
Aimbaye continues, “Fannie Lou Hamer knew that protesting brings attention to issues, but voting results in legislation to effect change. Today they use new schemes like gerrymandering and voter suppression tactics to disenfranchise voters. I hope that a glimpse into the life and work of a civil and voting rights warrior like Mrs. Hamer, who fought racial injustice, registered Black voters and mobilized thousands to vote, will underscore the nexus between voting and social change.”
The unique online theatrical experience will be followed by a short panel discussion. Panelists include: Frank Smith, PhD., African American Civil War Museum; Wilma Mishoe, PhD., 2020 President Emeritus Delaware State University; Voza Rivers, New Heritage Theatre Group; Rev. Billy Michael Honor, New Georgia Project; Dietrice Bolden, IMPACT Repertory Theatre.
The Fannie Lou Hamer Story is a powerful and uplifting biopic of Fannie Lou Hamer’s rise from Jim Crow Mississippi all the way to the halls of Congress, leading up to the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Aimbaye couples her commanding stage presence with her mellifluous voice to take the audience on an incredible journey back in time as Mrs. Hamer returns from heaven on a mission to invoke a sense of purpose and responsibility for democracy. The re-imagined virtual adaptation of the play will broadcast from Sanford Florida’s historic Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center, who contributed by donating the theater space for the performance.
“Young people have created a movement that will impact the lives of all people across the U.S.A. and beyond. It’s important for us to honor and learn from the foot soldiers that fought on the front lines and paved the way to where we are today,” says Djehuty Se Hotep, producer of FLHS. “We invite people from all backgrounds to tune in to gain a better understanding of Mrs. Hamer’s contribution to Black America’s struggle for human dignity and freedom.”
“The Fannie Lou Hamer Story” is produced by Healing Through the Sound of Music, Inc, a Florida-based 501(c) 3 nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. The Juneteenth event kicks-off Voice Of The Empowered (V.O.T.E.) Tour, an innovative “edutainment experience” aimed at registering, educating and mobilizing voters across the country. To watch the performance go to www.thefannielouhamerstory.com/copy-of-tour-1, or on FaceBook: voiceoftheempowered; Instagram & Youtube: TheFannieLouHamerStory. To book a performance email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (347) 395-0259.