50% OFF ALL IN-STOCK DISCS
Melvin Van Peebles: Essential Films

Don’t Play Us Cheap: The Sacredness of Saturday Night, or the Gospel According to Melvin Van Peebles

<i>Don’t Play Us Cheap: </i>The Sacredness of Saturday Night, or the Gospel According to Melvin Van Peebles

When blacks throw a party, they don’t play!

Melvin Van Peebles, Don’t Play Us Cheap, 1972

Like so many multitalented legends of African American culture, including James Baldwin, W. E. B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston, and Toni Morrison, Melvin Van Peebles maintained a deep love of theater and used the medium to tell stories about Black life. In fact, of all these icons, Van Peebles experienced perhaps the greatest commercial success as a theater artist. Though many cite his filmmaking, specifically his stereotype-busting, renegade 1971 sensation Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, as the primary evidence of his genius, his work for the stage was just as trailblazing. But despite his resounding success on and off Broadway, as well as in regional theaters throughout the United States, Van Peebles’s musicals somehow barely receive a mention in many discussions about his pioneering and multifaceted career. And yet to fully appreciate his role in Black culture, one must understand his connections to the world of theater, particularly the history of Black Broadway musicals.

You have no items in your shopping cart