Poetry, racism, health, and America. A review of "Dear James" a play by Anthony "da Boogie Man" Rucker

As you know, health and wellness covers all aspects of our life. Our emotional, mental, and spiritual health are just as important as our physical health if not preceding our physical health. Why? Emotions are reactions to a stimulus that cause a response in our body due of chemical change (emotion) from the trigger.

Example: someone cuts you off (stimulus) you get angry (response) your face gets hot and you feel irritated in your body (reaction). Make sense?

All emotions produce chemical reactions in the body. Being happy produces dopamine, epinephrine, and oxytocin which are the feel good hormones or chemical messengers in our body that reduce stress and well, help us feel good!!

Anger triggers the release of cortisol and adrenaline which stimulates our flight or flight response making us feel anxious, alert and well…stressed! If you remember from last weeks blog, cortisol is a stress hormone that causes inflammation, keeps us alert and tells our body to store fat. Imagine the toll constant, constant stress would have on your physical health and immune system!?

Stress causes inflammation, and it is a known fact that inflammation is a feeding ground for many chronic diseases.

Before we go any further, I want you to know that the rest of this blog discusses racism and how people of color generally have a shorter lifespan.

 I know... you weren't expecting me to go there. 

This blog post was inspired by a play I saw last weekend performed by Anthony "da Boogie Man" Rucker. Anthony is a critically acclaimed spoken word artist and National Poetry Slam champion who brought to light the realities and major, major, stresses black people deal with on a daily basis through a beautiful, educational, and entertaining play called “Dear James” inspired by quotes from the late writer James Baldwin.

Imagine walking around this earth in constant fear, and in constant rage. What would that do to your mental, emotional and physical health?! What about not feeling safe anywhere you go, unable to trust people who are supposed to protect you, and having to walk around on eggshells just for being you because of stereotypes and generational trauma and beliefs that plague black people in this country?!

That is exactly what black people deal with all the time. Imagine suppressing your rage and anger for years with no safe outlet. With all of that stress, say hello to chronic inflammation followed by chronic disease. With this knowledge, its no surprise black people have a shorter lifespan than white people. 

The stress, fear, anger, and anxiety that constantly follows a person of color is so unfair, and cruel. Things I wouldn't ever be aware of if it weren't for this play. I never fully understood the privilege I was born with until now. 

Some of the experiences Anthony demonstrated and described stunned me, and I know he didn’t even share half of it. 

From he and friends getting pulled over because a group of black kids in a car looked “suspicious” or getting a gun drawn for following orders, and the discrimination he faced getting his doctorate degree, not feeling safe anywhere he goes knowing that he cannot seek protection from authorities, the list goes on and this play brought to life all of those things in a really eye opening way. 

What a great freakin' play. 

My white privilege didn’t even know the fact that when black people were “freed” from plantations they had no food, money, education, resources or skills to make a living and survive until I saw this play.

Furthermore, aside from being a brilliant poet, Anthony “Da Boogie Man” is also a Doctor of psychology working as a clinical psychologist in North Hollywood, brining on yet an another level of stress, judgement, and stereotypes to fight through on a daily basis.

But the beautiful point he drives home and teaches in this play titled "Dear James" is that we can all make a difference. It starts with us edu-taining ourselves with plays like Dear James, but also learning to see each and every person as a human no matter what their skin or features look like, and teaching our kids to treat others with love and respect.

Our children learn most of their behaviors from watching our parents before the age of 4. So if we can lead by example, our children won’t always remember what we say but they will always mimic what we do.

So even if you are in a space where you don't think you can make a difference, think again. You can. Go see this play. 

We are all apart of the human race, and in 2023 we all deserve to live and thrive on panache mama, planet earth. It starts with educating ourselves and what better way than through entertainment. Plus, Anthony is one of the kindest, most talented humans I have had the pleasure of meeting. 

 I highly highly highly recommend going and seeing "Dear James" in Long Beach August 5th and August 12th. It is performed in a quaint, intimate theater called the Aurora Theater. Tickets start at $35 and you can also purchase Anthony's book.

I love you all. Keep striving to be your best, hug your mother, tell her you love her. 

All my love,

Megan Wren 

Megan Wren is a CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Fitness Expert, Poet, Author, and Performing Artist. You can find her on instagram at @itsmeganwren



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