Miami-Dade – Using sports metaphorically is a powerful theatrical tool used in plays and film. The popular movie, Love and Basketball, for example, beautifully intertwined the love story of its main characters with their passion for the sport, bouncing (pun intended) the two off each other in a way that has made the 15-year old movie a virtual cult classic.
In the acclaimed play, Hustle, writer/director, Keith C. Wade, “creates a bond between African-American, Latin–American and men of the Caribbean [by] formulating a love and understanding for basketball and the struggle of being a minority in America.”
The play is a part of The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center’s (AHCAC) Sankofa 40th anniversary celebration and runs from Sept. 11 to 13. It features Andre’ L. Gainey, Lorenzo Johnson, Jesus C. Mitchell, Keith C. Wade, Njie Sabik, Herman McGloun, Jamil Malik and Charita Joseph in three performances at the Miami-Dade icon located at 6161 NW 22nd Avenue.
Hustle fuses basketball and the male minority experience into “an inspirational, funny, cutting edge, and touching commentary on life as a man of color, and how the game of basketball provides a venue for a catharsis, growth and understanding.”
The play follows the story of four men drawn to their neighborhood basketball court. The court acts as their vestibule to share their fears, frustrations, anger and dreams while playing a game to give their lives balance. Hustle captures the reality of neighborhood basketball courts by exploring black men from various walks of life. The characters include college educated, mid-management professionals; as well as middle-aged blue-collar workers and small time drug dealers, all trying to survive and make the best decisions for themselves and their families.
Teddy Harrell Jr. AHCAC’s Theater Production Coordinator said that Hustle speaks to the hopelessness and feelings of powerlessness of young men of color between the ages of 18 to 40; while simultaneously providing a window into the souls of men that all races and genders can appreciate.