Regarding your article in The Independent titled "The Second Coming Of Pigmeat Markham," [Sept. 25] I would like respond to this evil act of so-called journalism. The Dr. Love Theater Group and I put together a comedy stage play that everyone could enjoy; black people, white people, or whatever. Our only intention was to give people an enjoyable night of laughter through comic dialogue. You had to turn this into a racial issue. Since you took it there, let's really go there.
First of all, what made you label Torrey Lawrence's character "shiftless and dumb"? He was just a black man coming home after a night of drinking. If he was a white man coming home after a night of drinking, would he have been labeled dumb and shiftless? Also, if you are going to critic a play, please have your facts straight. Nowhere in Torrey's dialogue did he say he loves fried chicken. Speaking on Angela Ray's character, she played a strong respectful black woman, yet you saw "A long-suffering old black momma."
Secondly, why was this play called a "racial humor play"? I'm confused. We didn't deal with any racial issues. The cast consisted of black and white members. They played a diverse group of characters; each with a different story to tell and none with racial issues. Was it because I am a black writer? If a white person had written this play, would it have been called racial humor?
Just when I thought race relations were getting so much better, here comes a racist idiot like you. You want to charge me with trying to set the African-American race back 40 years. If you really want to know what's holding back the progress of black people, or at least who is trying to, look in the mirror. Look into your mind.
Furthermore Mr. Woods, you accuse me of trying to revive the "Chitlin Circuit." Let me give you a little history lesson. The Chitlin Circuit was a network of houses, apartments, barns and old shacks. Musicians, singers, dancers and comedians would perform in these places, during the Depression era, to raise money for suffering black families. The host would fix a big pot of chitlins to feed the entertainers and guest. This is called Ujamaa; co-operative economics, a practice with its origin in Africa. I am proud of my people who struggled through this period, in the face of a racist America. It is only viewed in a negative way by white people like yourself and brainwashed black people.
You go on to compare me to Pigmeat Markham. I never saw Mr. Markham perform, but I am sure he was a great comedian. His "Here Comes The Judge" skits were copied by Sammy Davis Jr. and Flip Wilson. So I thank you for the comparison. Would you rather if I had done the profanity laced humor, filled with derogatory comments towards every race, like many of the modern day comics? Besides, don't white people still laugh at Groucho Marx and Carol Burnett?
Mr. Woods, I know you are a critic and it is your job to criticize, but do not distort the facts and bring racial issues in where they don't belong. We are not running for political office, trying to revive the civil right movement, or even trying to start a revolution. We just wanted to entertain people and make them laugh; and we accomplished that. People who came to the show laughed, clapped their hands, and even gave us a standing ovation. You couldn't put that in your article because it would have contradicted everything you wrote. I'm going to bed now and pray for you, all the people like you, and those who become a victim to your vicious act of so-called journalism.
BRIAN DAVIS, DIRECTOR, DR. LOVE THEATER GROUP, RALEIGH
Relax, don't read it
Regarding Doug Reed's letter concerning "News of the Weird" [Back Talk, Oct. 2]: All I have to say is don't read that section. I'm not interested in the music reviews, so, I don't read those. The new Independent has something for everyone, so enjoy.
JAMES FRAMPTON, DURHAM
In our Oct. 2 Dish issue, a photo caption in the dining guide misidentified the restaurant in the photo. The photo labeled Hotpoint Deli is actually a photo of Maximillian's Grill & Wine Bar in Cary.
Got something to say about an Independent article? Send no more than 300 words to firstname.lastname@example.org; to P.O. Box 2690, Durham 27715; or fax 286-4274. Include your name, phone number and mailing address for verification; we cannot publish a letter without confirmation from the writer. We reserve the right to edit letters for length, style and clarity.