Socialist Worker

Why I Don’t Hate White People - Lemn Sissay

by Esme Choonara
Issue No. 2137

Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay

Lemn Sissay grew up in rural Lancashire in the care of Wigan social services. He never met another black person until he was 18.

This experience forms the centre of this engrossing one-man show.

An accomplished poet, Sissay crafts his words precisely and combines them with movement and video to explore racism, identity and the meaning of whiteness.

Nothing escapes Sissay’s acerbic wit – he pokes fun at old women trying too hard to be nice, and at students wanting to borrow a rizla from the only black man in the pub.

The work raises more questions that it answers, but it doesn’t disappoint.

It is full of rage and pain as well as humour and insight, but Sissay is keen to engage, rather than confront, the audience. And he does it with great energy and style.

Why I Don’t Hate White People
Lyric Hammersmith, Lyric Square, King Street, London
Until 14 February

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Article information

Tue 3 Feb 2009, 18:26 GMT
Issue No. 2137
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