New York City's National Black Theatre continues to honor the life and legacy of its founder, the late Dr. Barbara Ann Teer, as part of the annual NBT Founder’s Month. Kicking off in June, and running through July, this year's celebration featured the unearthing of Dr. Teer's "Letter to the Future."
Penned in 1991 and enclosed in a time capsule, the letter is particularly prescient against the current backdrop of racial injustices and disparities. “I wonder if we have evolved into a higher human begin than those Black people living on earth in 1991. I wonder if you have been able to rise above and beyond distrust, fear, resentment and resignation,” reads Dr. Teer’s letter. “I pray that you are the ones who bring grace, beauty, joy and laughter into the world.”
You can read the letter here; and watch a newly commissioned audiovisual sound collage of the text with original score by Ricardo iamuuri Robinson (aka La’Vender Freddy) on NBT's Instagram.
In conjunction with the public release of the letter, NBT has launched NBT@ Home: A Letter to the Future, a conversation series running every Thursday at 5:30 PM ET via Facebook Live. On July 2, the series focuses on "Black to the Future: Building a Tomorrow,” featuring guests who were all members of NBT’s SOUL Series LAB residency programs. Guests include playwrights Ngozi Anyanwu, Angelica Cheri, Lee Edward Colston II, Mfoniso Udofia, and director Dominique Rider who will discuss the need for “radically free” Black spaces to create Black art.
NBT@ Home: A Letter to the Future launched on June 25 with a conversation with Ade Faison and Ayodele Moore, two of Dr. Teer’s contemporaries who were with her during the start of NBT, speaking with moderator ChelseaDee and young artists SHESHE Dance, Ebony Noelle Golden and Alec Stephens III, about Dr. Teer, her methodology, and her influence on theatre. Audiences can watch the conversation here.