In 1910, Jack Johnson - World Heavyweight Champion - faced yet another "Great White Hope" in the Fight of the Century. He won. Race riots ensued in cities all across America on the annual celebration of our nation's birth. By winning, Johnson - a phenomenal black boxer - had just humiliated whites in America. And that was unacceptable.
The Royale (currently showing at Lincoln Center Theater) depicts the inner struggle of Johnson as he exerts his dominance inside the ring while all outside it are deep in the midst of Jim Crow. And the struggle is real. Lives are affected. Family issues arise. A man is troubled, yet capable. His skin color is the crux of it all.
The Royale is a fantastic portrayal of the issues that somehow still manage to be present in our daily lives over 100 years later. The unique and creative manner of presentation makes the performance all the more appealing. I highly recommend checking it out. And afterward, really thinking about what it means. It is a travesty that our country still finds a way to continue fighting with one another over skin color when what we really need is peace for one and all.