For years Wayne Brady had been working on a one-man show about being a young Black man growing up in Orlando, but he could never finish the project.
That’s until acclaimed actor Glenn Close asked him to participate in her spoken word jazz album.
“To be honest with you, the reason it took me a couple of years was because it was so painful. Every time I’d go to it, I would start a draft and it got a little too real. I felt myself wanting to do the thing that you can do — whether you’re talking to a group of friends or whether you’re onstage — I’m going to now make this funny and I’m going to deflect. Or I’ll sidetrack or I’ll do something that takes away the weight because I don’t want to remember this,” Brady recalled.
“Glenn coming to me, that was the impetus of me saying, ‘You’re going to finish this and you’re going to finish this now. You’ve got to talk about this. You’ve got to share this.'”
That’s when the actor-comedian-singer crafted “A Piece by the Angriest Black Man in America (or, How I Learned to Forgive Myself for Being a Black Man in America).” It appears on “Transformation: Personal Stories of Change, Acceptance, and Evolution,” Close’s new album released this month.