Ohlone Monitor

Copeland show raw, hilarious, enlightening

Vanessa Luis, Editor-in-chief

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Brian Copeland performed his solo show “Not a Genuine Black Man” in the Jackson Theatre at the Smith Center on May 4. The two-hour, one-man show was raw, hilarious and enlightening.

The audience watched as Copeland explored growing up in the whitest and most racist city in the world at the time, San Leandro. He covered the idea of what a “genuine black man” is; the first time he was called the n-word by another kid; having an abusive, in-and-out father; his first time in the back of a police car; his family’s eviction because of discrimination; and a more recent battle with depression.

Somehow, Copeland coated these dreadful truths in humor to make them go down easy. It’s funny and gut wrenching all at the same time.

Copeland gracefully transitions through timelines and characters, while artfully telling the story of his life. It isn’t hard to see why his show is the longest running solo show in San Francisco history.

After the show, guests were able to purchase his two books, “Not a Genuine Black Man: My Life as an Outsider” and “The Jewelry Box: A Memoir of Christmas.”

Shortly after the end of his performance, Copeland came out to speak with audience members and sign his book.

Copeland survived a horrible racial divide, extreme racial tension, and a suicide attempt. He turned his experiences into something beautiful, emotional and captivating. If you haven’t seen it already, this show is worth watching.

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Copeland show raw, hilarious, enlightening