For Black Boys: ‘An autopsy of the heart of a Black man’.

‘For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy’, a play by Ryan Calais Cameron, co-directed by Tristan Fynn-Aiduenu, was conceived in 2013 in response to Trayvon Martin’s killing and inspired by Ntozake Shange’s ‘For Colored Girls’.

The funny and moving show is about a group of young Black men having a therapy session where they have honest conversations around toxic masculinity, their experiences of racism, police harassment and love, along with confessions of suicidal thoughts due to the societal pressures of having to live up to often impossible standards.

There are no characters as such, though they are all named with names which evoke blackness (Onyx, Pitch, Jet, etc), instead they reconfigure for each new scenario to address or challenge stereotypes.

Cameron said:

“For Black Boys is an autopsy of the heart of a Black man. This is a show that is at once personal and social…I am so grateful to have had the chance to bring it to life – and cannot wait for audiences, particularly young Black men who, like me, have rarely been asked how they are doing before, to experience For Black Boys’ powerful vulnerability.”

Society is now paying more attention to men’s mental health and the incredibly high suicide rates amongst them. Ryan Calais Cameron explores the reasons for this and why young black men are at particular risk due to the discrimination they face in society.

‘For Black Boys…’ is showing at the Royal Court Theatre until May 7th.

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