Feel the sun calling me to forgive: Emily Radcliffe responds to "21 Black Futures"

Friday, March 12, 2021

Emily RadcliffeEmily Radcliffe is a third year Arts and Business student majoring in Theatre and Performance. She was one of 21 Black students chosen from more than 60 applicants across Canada who responded to CBC Arts and Obsidian Theatre's 21 Black Futures plays. 21 Black Futures showcases 63 Black Canadian actors, directors, and playwrights, all answering the question “What is the future of Blackness?” 

As part of the “Seeding the Future” program, Emily responded to the play Madness With Rocks by Peace Akintade. Her song “The Boulder and I,” which she wrote, performed and recorded herself, mixes multiple tracks of her own voice. Madness With Rocks is an allegorical piece set 100 years in the future in which a warrior discovers a rock that is all that remains of the African continent.  

With the abilities and talents that I’ve been given – and to the highest degree capable – I wanted to be a part of illuminating the complexities, unfiltered essence, and pure artistic representation of Black individuals and stories, through theatre and performative response.

Emily Radcliffe's song response to 'Madness With Rocks'“One of the most prominent reasons why I wanted to actively participate in the 21 Black Futures project is because I strongly believe in the creation and celebration of Black artistry in theatre,” says Radcliffe. “Through my work as an Undergraduate Research Assistant with Dr. Naila Keleta-Mae on the Black And Free Research-Creation Project, I developed a new-found passion for exploring how the representation of Black stories can be most impactfully told through theatre.” 

Radcliffe’s lyrics evoke the voice of the protagonist in “Madness With Rocks”; the song opens with the haunting line “In a world that’s forgotten my name / will you forget me the same?” Her layered harmonies echo a refrain of “what does it mean to forgive?” throughout the rest of the song. “With the abilities and talents that I’ve been given – and to the highest degree capable – I wanted to be a part of illuminating the complexities, unfiltered essence, and pure artistic representation of Black individuals and stories, through theatre and performative response,” Radcliffe explains.  

Listen to Emily’s performance here.

Watch ‘Madness with Rocks’ here.