Khalil Kain

Khalil Kain

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up with inside my body. When I do that, whoever is watching, they understand that to be the truth, they live it. So I think she was a little mistaken on that front. And that was the end of that.

EBONY: How do you feel about Black theater and Black film right now? Do you feel like it’s growing?

KK: What African-American film? What African-American theater? I just watched Streetcar Named Desire on Broadway and Daphne Rubin-Vega, Nicole Ari Parker, Wood Harris, these are people that I know personally, ripped it, it was all good. I love the production, but it’s still Tennessee Williams. It’s still not ours.  So now, as opposed to Blackface, it’s Black folks up there doing White work. And I love the opportunity to kind of do a classic piece like that, but at the same time there is a whole bunch of stuff that we already have. Can we do some of that? Paul Carter Harrison is the man. He’s one of those old heads that we have to tap into, because he has so much knowledge. That’s one of the reasons I took the job; the chance to sit next to the man and get up in his head for a little bit and see what I can take away. That’s how it use to go down. We use to learn from our elders, and we don’t do that anymore. I think it’s a huge mistake.

EBONY: Why do you think everybody should go see The Great MacDaddy?

KK: The play is hugely relevant and its part of African-American history. I don’t want to even get into culture because, really, what is our culture as African-Americans? This young man I met in the street, probably in his late 20s, asked me, “So you’re doing plays? Why you doing plays?” And I’m like, “You need to come check it out.” He’s like, “Why would I go?” And I was like, “To get some culture up in you! What does culture mean to you?” He was like, “Culture is annoying.” I was like, “Wow, how do you define where you come from?” He was like, “I know who I am.” I didn’t want to ask. I was just like, “alright bro.” That’s where we’re at now.

EBONY: What’s next for you? And what other projects do you have your sights on?

KK: I’m excited about being back in New York City again. This is where my family is. We came out here to shoot [director Tyler Perry's] For Colored Girls, and that summer I was like “I need to come back home.” I couldn’t believe how much love I was getting in the streets. But I actually started teaching classes at City College in Harlem last semester. I am going to direct a play that is this coming summer. I have a short film called Sweep that’s about gentrification in the city that I will be directing sometime this year. We’re just trying to raise money for that right now. I just signed on with a new agent, so I’m going to be doing a book, too. That’s going to be hot, the title of that is going to be So Much About Raheem: Contamination of the Urban Martyr in America. It’s going to be a nice little exploration for me.