Review For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy, Ryan Calais Cameron, Garrick Theatre by Tanica Psalmist

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

For Black Boys, Written & directed by Ryan Calais executes several delicate themes within this production successfully, serving blacks boys worldwide unapologetically. Justice is performed intrinsically as the black boy experience gets relived & told through the lens of six black men, who speak on behalf of black boys prohibited from speaking their truth out of fear, incarceration, elimination or self-destruction.

This production deeply reveals roots of oblivion, shame, guilt and suppression; depicting the multiple shades & textures of black boy’s strengths, weaknesses, femininity and masculinity which inevitably get covered by layers of pain, denial, toxicity, fragility, conflicting thoughts, emotions and feelings as a response to feeling emasculated, oppressed, subjugated; as well as belittled from police brutality, high unemployment rates, pre-judgements and discrimination.

From family complications to what it means to then become the man of the house once dad walks out, especially when all your life you’ve been stigmatised, misunderstood, marginalised, disfranchised, economically stagnant and secluded. For Black Boys highlights raw truth, distasteful secrets and unshaken ancestral knowledge, depths of supreme black history to reverse disempowerment to empowerment, victory, breakthroughs, self-discipline and mastery to prevent gang affiliations, knife crime, lack of positive male influences and internal suffering leading to sorrow, despair & suicide.

Each personal experience, whether love, homosexuality, exclusion, mental health or hyper-sexuality was magically expressed through dance, freedom of expression movement and singing, belting from the depths of their soul to demonstrate liberation, vulnerability, livelihood and desire to escape judgment, to just be, to be seen and acknowledged in the midst of white supremacy and conflicting institutional spaces.

Each cast member brought to life characterisation that’s individualistic and unique, infused with variety, personality types and how being grouped to fit into one box label ‘black’ is detrimental, pressuring black boys to put on a front, suppress their emotional side and refrain from making wise decisions in the name of being a man that should act tough, insensitive, prideful & egotistical. This powerful dynamic reflected the difficulties affiliated with feeling a sense of belonging, community and purpose when you don’t fit the narrative of being black within social settings but may neatly fit into white groups until they state the obvious.

For Black Boys who have considered suicide when the hue gets too heavy takes you on rollercoaster of black boy’s highs & lows. Witnessing blackness being diminished and dehumanised leading to vulnerability to then becoming fully black conscious, fully present in this world and confidently outspoken as the foundation to a hopeful future, living with purpose, no longer just existing due to knowing you have the protection of ancestors, a legacy infused with powerful African genetics and success stories rewritten in your name if only you are willing to fight that good fight and not give up no matter how heavy your hue gets. This play touches on the significance of black boys removing the negative residue that the world had ignorantly smudged on black boys from childhood, & how irrespective of how much residue & scars visibly remain, black boys, you are and always will be special.

Highly recommended! For Black Boys will be running until June 2024.


Tobi King Bakare, Shakeel Haakim, Fela Lufadeju, Albert Magasi, mohammed Mansaray, Poshi Morakinyo

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