I Met Somebody Really Important Last Sunday Night…No He’s Not Chris Brown

Denise McNair's cousin

You might not know this guy, but you’ll be surprised to know who he is related to. You’ve heard of Denise McNair, right? She was one of the 4 Little Girls bombed in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. When I think of her, I think about how she was just a young girl like me when that happened to her. She will always hold a special place in my heart. 

So when I met Terrell (not Chris Brown- I thought he looked like him) after my performance in the world premier of Akil Dupont’s musical Underground and he told me that he was Denise’s cousin, I felt so honored. Here we were at Underground, which tells the story of slaves trying to escape to freedom while singing spirituals to strenghthen and guide them along the way, and I meet someone who is living proof of the struggle for freedom and equality that African Americans have endured even to this day.

It’s like just when you think, “Why do we have to keep telling these stories about slavery and the Civil Rights Movement?” you meet someone who is a direct descendant of the people we have read about and heard about in movies. That’s when you know that we cannot just say oh that was then and this is now. We have to keep telling the stories so that we can become better people, a better nation.

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