Arinze Kene, an English playwright, appeared on the U.K.’s Channel 4 News to discuss his latest play, Misty. The story centers on a young black man living in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood in London, and people are calling it “the second black play” to ever be performed on the West End.
However, in this interview, Kene pushes back on this simply and succinctly…
“I don’t know what a ‘black play’ is. I mean would you call Hamlet a ‘white play?’ I don’t know if you would. I don’t know what makes a ‘black play’ a ‘black play.’ This is a play about London.”
But the interviewer persists, saying…
“But if it’s about a black person, and it’s by a black person, and it’s put on by black people, does that make it a black production?”
To which Kene once again explains…
“My counter would be, if it is written by a white person, and if it’s directed by white people and put on by white people, is that a white production. I don’t know. I wouldn’t call it one.”
The full interview can be seen below…
“I mean would you call Hamlet a white play?”
Playwright Arinzé Kene says his new theatre production 'Misty' isn't a “black play”. pic.twitter.com/dDSLDU6C1p
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) September 28, 2018
People were here for what Arinze Kene had to say:
I love this man ❤️
— Stonehearted (@SimonBrindley) September 28, 2018
Absolutely Arinze – A play is a play without boundaries and prejudice @bushtheatre
— Paul Jefferson Woods (@PaulWoodsWriter) September 29, 2018
Bravo Arinzé hit it square on the nail.
— Ksenija Horvat (@ksenija_horvat) September 29, 2018
Love his response…and good composure!
— ShellysFirst (@ShellysFirst) October 1, 2018
Brilliant response. One further step to defeating the embedded racism in our society. White-led entertainment is never seen as 'white' productions, so why are minority endeavours labelled by colour? Unless to assume no White person would be interested in them? Shameful.
— Elaine Sihera (@ESiheraESC) September 28, 2018
Many had kind words for the play itself.
Great artist. Great play. Bravo #ArinzeKene
— Shanty Productions (@ShantyProds) September 29, 2018
We are PEOPLE. We are all towns and London all together. Love what I've read about Misty and hope to see it!
— Life Of Bryony (@BryonyPurdue) September 30, 2018
#Misty is by far one of the best plays I have ever seen. Seeing it at the @bushtheatre was really special. @beholdarinze is sharp, electric, a performer for the here & now. I can't wait to see what he does next – whatever it is, I'll be in the front row!
— Sarah Bryce (@SarahBryce90) September 30, 2018
Some blasted the interviewer for the question:
I LOVE his response!! The question from the interviewer was ignorant. Today in Britain people are constantly looking for what divides us. The Arts is one industry that we can rely on to focus on what binds us… an appreciation of talent regardless of race.
— Annabel R Nielsen (@annabel_rn) September 28, 2018
This interviewer. Lol he would be the one to ask those kind of questions. Remember when he had Richard Ayoade on… Richard Ayoade didn't fall for it.
— Obi-Agu (@MrEgusi) September 29, 2018
Why don't these journalists just think a wee bit more than usual before they ask such shite questions!
— Ayshah B (@BAyshah) September 30, 2018
Though one felt that the premise was intentionally set up by the interviewer for Kene to tear it down.
Great question by @krishgm setting up the populist argument for it to be eloquently torn down by Arinze. This is public service broadcasting.
— D. James Newton (@jamesnewton) October 1, 2018
Regardless of why the question was asked, Arinze Kene makes a salient point.