I haven't read Ibsen, Shaw, Shakespeare - except 'The Merchant of Venice' in ninth grade. I'm not familiar with 'Death of a Salesman.' I haven't read Tennessee Williams.
I first got involved in theater in 1968, at the height of a social tumult. I was a poet.
Jazz in itself is not struggling. That is, the music itself is not struggling... It's the attitude that's in trouble. My plays insist that we should not forget or toss away our history.
Suffice it to say, I'm not poor.
Blacks in America want to forget about slavery - the stigma, the shame. If you can't be who you are, who can you be? How can you know what to do? We have our history. We have our book, and that is the blues.
My hero when I was 14 was Sonny Liston. No matter what kinds of problems you were having with your parents or at school, whatever, Sonny Liston would go and knock guys out, and that made it all right.