This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Malcolm X’s famous Ballot of the Bullet speech. To commemorate this Writing on the Wall hosted Malcolm X Speaks in the bustling Ropewalks Square, enlisting the theatrical talents of Elliot Barnes-Worrell to reenact sections of Malcom's most iconic speeches.
Malcolm X is a controversial character. His call to Black Americans to to fight for civil rights by whatever means necessary and indictment of White Capitalist America in the harshest terms meant he was accused of preaching violence and racism. Despite this he has been hailed as one of the most influential African Americans in history.
Elliot Barnes-Worrell struck a dominant figure and performed effortlessly giving the speeches unmitigated conviction. He is currently touring with the Royal Shakespeare Company performing in Richard II, a rising star possessing a talent to inspire and entertain a crowd. It was hard not to feel emotional and Elliot captured the power and presence of Malcolm X's words, transporting us briefly back to 1964, enabling us to imagine the pain and anger of those times.
The sections performed chartered development of Malcolm X's political ideologies throughout his career and were accompanied by ABUVV (Jaylyn), an innovative recording artist, songwriter and audio engineer from New York playing poignant music inspired by Malcolm X and the civil rights movement. The audience was treated to a mixture of Jazz, Hip Hop, Blues and Soul from the likes of Sam Cooke 'A Change Is Gonna Come', 'Mavis Staples 'We Shall Not Be Moved', Public Enemy 'Fight The Power', KRS One 'Sound Of The Police', and James Brown 'I'm Black And I'm Proud' providing the perfect soundtrack for the event.
By Natalie Denny