Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Nonexistent: A Poem


An existing body without a soul is a vacant shell 

A vacant mind is a capacious hell

boisterous carcasses won't hear your cry

Interrupted dialogue will show you why 

Razen speech at every turn but at the end: crash and burn 

Artificial smiles; the eye can't resist

Seek the truth in what you do. What you say and who you're with. 

- c.j. stew

Saturday, April 14, 2018

He Stoops To Paris

Hey Friends!

I know it’s been awhile since my last blog but I’m back and got a story to tell. This issue will also be featured with a short video of some footage I recorded in Paris and you will be able to access it in the link at the end of the blog. 

The last 3 months has been a roller coaster. Welcome to Episode 3!

The last I posted I did a recap of my first term in Uni and now I’ve finished my second. I’m never growing tired of England (Although I’m growing tired of the constant rain). For a while these past couple of months it would be dark outside at 4PM which was really upsetting to me. The day would kind of end early. It was a very cold and windy winter. Although I barely noticed the time jump it now gets dark at 8:30PM (Thank Jesus). One of my early highlights these past couple of months was the release of Black Panther. I’ve never been to the movies 3 times to see anything but this occasion was worth it! It was amazing. You see what happens when you give a Black director some money to make a movie? Magic happens, Ryan Coogler had Disney money and created something empowering, masterful, strong, and nonetheless Black. If you haven’t seen it I suggest you do before it leaves the cinema. I’ve never seen a super hero flick with grit and depth like that one had, but how can you not have depth when discussing the inner relations of Identity within the African and African American cultures? The movie was a 10/10. 

This last term has been a real challenge. I took part in a show called ‘She Stoops To Conquer’ by Oliver Goldsmith. 

It was an 18thcentury styled piece in the Georgian Era. My class worked with a very incredible director named Susanna Bishop. She’s a former RSC (Royal Shakespeare Company) actress, brilliant director and tutor. Her specificity in directing and knowledge about the style and text was phenomenal. She’s definitely one of the best. I was in the role of Tony Lumpkin, a country esquire who desired his fortune desperately. He was a young quick-witted problem child that was humoured by jokes and mischief. He both created all of the problems in the play AND solved them. It wasn't a walk in the park. It was probably one of the hardest roles I’ve ever been in but also the most fun! I’ve always wanted to play Puck in Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and in this show, I had the opportunity because the characters are somewhat very similar. I had to really figure out how to transform myself completely through voice, mannerisms and physicality. Nothing comes easy but I’m happy that I eventually rose to the occasion of what was needed from me and what I wanted to accomplish. The show was hilarious and my classmates did an awesome job. 

In the midst of finishing my second term I lost my grandmother. She was from Louisiana and was 86. Being so far from home without much money currently glued me to England so I didn't get to see her off but keep my family in your prayers. She was a rock in my Wilson side of the family and it always hurts to lose a Grandmother. She's in a better place now for sure. RIP Mudea! We love you!

One of my dreams came true last weekend. We’ve been on Easter break for 3 weeks and last weekend I travelled to a location of one of my childhood dreams, Paris. From the time, I arrived I was in amazement. I was also in disbelief. Travelling is something that’s not common where I’m from and It’s a dream some of my family members share. I didn’t have much money but God blessed me with what I needed to enjoy the city. I got to tour the Eiffel, I went to the famous Louve museum and saw the Mona Lisa (Quite Overrated if you ask me), I saw many famous buildings and walked all around the city. The FOOD! Oh my, the FOOD was AMAZING. The first thing I ate was a foot-long hot dog which was fairly cheap. It was toasted with sausage in the inside and cheese baked all around the bread. I was in food heaven. My favourite meal was the lasagne and salad with white French wine. My lasagne was the best I’ve probably ever tasted. The French can cook.

Mingling with the French was also a delight. I’ve picked up on a couple of new phrases like “Merci.” Love was in the air everywhere. There was always a couple on every block or so kissing or engaging in a deep romantic form. “It must be nice” is what my mind was thinking every time. Paris is fairy tale city. No really, like dogs are not even on leashes. They obey every French command and are trained enough to walk alongside their owners and be “civil.” I love, love so much. The whole time I was in Paris, on the Eiffel looking over the city, I couldn’t help but be so grateful and thankful for where I was standing. It’s all God and hard work. I am on a roll with knocking out dreams and goals and as long as I keep on my track I’m gonna get where I’m going eventually. You can do it to. Make sure you're dedicated and committing to your dreams everyday. You can shine wherever you are. 

"My attitude is never to be satisfied, never enough, never." - Duke Ellington

Till Next Issue! au revoir! 

Sunday, January 14, 2018


Hey everybody! Welcome to episode 2! To the new readers welcome to my mind and my journey of being a Black storyteller in the United Kingdom.

To start, I want to say HAPPY NEW YEAR! I wish nothing but peace, love, and goal achieving for everyone this year. I’ve learned some new English lingo. It’s quite odd to hear if you’re from America. “You alright” is how the English in Birmingham ask, “How are you doing?” Now, where I’m from when people ask me if I’m alright, they seem to think something is wrong with me which is so frustrating, so imagine my reaction when I hear it. I’m adapting though. First time I heard it some drunk man said it to me at a bar while offering me a drink. Another phrase is “CHEERS!” You know when you’re toasting with wine? Well out here it’s often used as thank you.

I’ve seen some new places! First, London is always a VIBE when I go. My frat brother Ronald Sewell always make sure my visit is wonderful. He took me to a Jamaican restaurant a few weeks ago and I had some Jamaican Rum which was to die for and some amazing seafood. I was eating shrimp with the heads on them, I swore I’d never (I still didn’t eat food that looks at me) but you got to explore and try new things, right? You know what’s so weird to me? It’s legal to drink at 18 here. When I go out to Pubs (Bars) there are so many young people it’s ridiculous. It makes me appreciate the American legal drinking age.

In London, I visited Shakespeare’s Globe and got the chance to play on the stage with my classmates. Probably one of the most humbling experiences is my life. The stage is so huge and there is nowhere to hide when you’re on it. You literally have people at every angle watching you. The energy built up in there is otherworldly. I felt like If I wanted to fire a Kamehameha wave, that’s the place to go. It’s such a dream hearing about this place so many times from my teachers in America and actually living in what they described and taught. 

I’m still in love with Drama school. I finished my first term (semester) and I’m beginning my second one. Macbeth was my classes final project. I’m so grateful for working with my first professional theatre company this summer (Shout out to all of my friends from Theater at Monmouth) in Maine. It was my first time being creative in a non-Black space (I didn’t start acting until undergrad). I was on a new journey of discovering my voice in a room of people from different backgrounds, wanting to speak efficiently about how I view things. I’m continuing that journey here in England. It’s personally a challenge but I enjoy being an educator for my ancestors. Thank God, I went to an Historically Black College University previous to this, because without PVAMU I wouldn’t really even understand myself, nonetheless where I come from. This past summer in Maine I was in 4 plays, one of them being Macbeth. There was just so much information and specificity that I didn’t know about Shakespeare’s work and that story (Which I think might be the hardest play from Shakespeare). I got to revisit it this past term and I’ve discovered so much about the language, Shakespeare, the rhetorical devices, the period, (The Gunpowder Plot and how that connects with everything) the characters’ beliefs, and a more in depth, immersion into the play, I was also fighting my own actor habits and eliminating everything that I don’t need. I got to play the king himself, and live through my favourite soliloquy (which I wrote about a few years back in a previous blog. You can access it). It was an ensemble piece so we were all running around in different roles. I’m so grateful for it. And I believe more that I can execute a lead role. I can finally say that I truly love Shakespeare. (Heart Heart Heart) Thank God for our director/tutor Andrew Potter. That man is a brilliant educator. And a dynamic artist.

Winter break in England was quiet. I missed my mom, family and friends but I also got the chance to celebrate the holidays and my birthday with people who actually care about me out here. Sometimes I still feel lonely. Like a lonesome young foreign boy in the woods seeking to know every living organism. Even the ones that bite; I’m okay though! (PS: I met two new friends last night that also go to my university. They’re both actors who go to my Drama School on the B.A. course. Shout out to Hayden Thomas and Janeks Babidorics!)

We’re going to get this degree in 2019, I’m going to set out and be a star and live out my life’s purpose of changing the molecules of people that need guidance. Creating art that promotes unity and empathy, and discovering yourself. We’re going to change the world and I’m already sparking something by you reading.
Speak it into existence and anything is achievable friends! Keep striving for your best selves, accept the journey YOU are on and don’t worry if your journey doesn’t match someone else’s, it’s yours. stay prayed up and if you see the door of opportunity, KICK THAT SUMNABITCH DOWN!

And in the words of the late great playwright August Wilson in his play, The Piano Lesson

“But you’d be surprised how many people trying to go North get on a train going West. They think train’s supposed to go where they going rather than where it’s going” 

Till next month family for Issue no.3!