Updated: Sep 19, 2019
A Sermon about Black Power, Truth, and Identity
N. A work of outstanding artsy, skill, and workmanship.
There are very few people who have had the opportunity to witness a masterpiece unfold before their eyes. Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, a monstrous symphony deviating so far from what a symphony normally is to create, can be argued as one of the greatest pieces of western music. I have played that piece over and over again in school. Each time finding a moment that I loved more, discovering a bar that made more sense, and unraveling the intention it’s creator…
Sunday, September 8th 2019 at Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, a cultural masterpiece was revealed. Entitled “Sister,” the third and final chapter in the Pyer Moss trilogy paid homage to Sister Rosetta Tharpe. A singer-songwriter who rose to popularity in the 1930s and ’40s, Tharpe is widely considered to be the godmother of rock and roll. However, her legacy has been nearly diminished in music’s history book. To honor Tharpe’s life, the collection used artwork by the recently exonerated artist Richard Phillips..
Endless lines comprised of industry insiders, celebrities, and those fans who were lucky enough to score one of 500 free tickets wrapped around the venue and down Flatbush Ave. Backstage was just as hectic; makeup artists running around to powder faces, design team adjusting fits, and Kerby Jean-Raymond taking a small meditative breath in the corner before directing another model to their next post. It was easy to imagine the production costs running well into the hundreds of thousands.We later found out that it was more to the tune of around $400,000.
Shortly after finding our way from backstage to our seats, the show began. Dressed in all white, the band members took their place around the snow white piano. Lights dimmed and Bret Faiyaz began to sing with piano accompaniment “ I know I’ve been away, but I’m just trying to get my paper straight”. Writer Casey Gerald who is known for his incisive social commentary, took stage to give us the sermon of a lifetime! Beyond being places of worship, churches have long served as safe havens for black communities; a place to inspire, share, and thrive. It was clear that this theater was being used in the same fashion. With no pulpit, Casey preached about creative refuge, freedom of expression, and community independence. His words were uplifting, political, and unapologetically for the black men and women in the seats before him.
“Four hundred years have passed since they brought our people to this land . . . and I’ve come here to say you can’t hurt us no more...They knew that no matter how their master treated them, no matter how the world treated them, they had freedom on the inside that the world could not take away . . . And we are here tonight to claim our wings.”
Que the Pyer Moss Tabernacle Drip Choir Drenched in the Blood (Yes, you read that correctly, that is indeed their name.), and enter the first model!
Gorgeous black models graced the runway in whimsical dresses, tailored suits, and garments that paid homage to the rock and roll era mentioned at the start of the show. Afros, cornrows, braid jewelry, and vibrant eye-shadow served as natural accessories to the line. Blessing us with soulful renditions of Anita Baker’s “Sweet Love”, and Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary”, the Pyer Moss Tabernacle Drip Choir Drench in the Blood left all the drip on stage! They even got a little old school nasty with Adina Howards’s “Freak in the Morning”, and brought us back with songs from hot-girl summer’s past, Meg Thee Stallion’s “Big O’l Freak”and Cardi B’s “Money”.
Much like a well written score, the show unfolded effortlessly. There were highs and lows, reminders of our humanity, comical relief, and sobering political statements bringing us back to reality. What truly set this SS2020 show apart from all the rest was the amount unwavering and unified passion that came from that stage.
Favorite Looks from the Show: