We’re not called ‘Negroes’ anymore. It’s a racial identification from our past; we’ve moved on …now we’re black or African American. We rarely stop to think of the power behind the word ‘Negro,’ and that at one time in our history it stood for dignity, power, and love. It meant that none of us were free, until we were all free and that we had a special bond that manifested itself in education; honor and trusting in God to give us the strength to do what needed to be done.

Maurice Kitchen’s “Voices: A Legacy to Remember” takes us back to the days of the Negro, and through music, song, dance and verse tells the glorious story of our past, when we were Negroes.”

Do you know what it’s like to have your eyes and ears witness something so divine that your blood begins to rush through your body, you start tingling all over and you hold yourself down for fear of jumping up and dancing for the pure joy of what you’re witnessing? Well, that’s what “Voices” is like.

“Voices” is an incredible, unique telling of ‘Colored, Negro, African-American, Black’ history in America. And careful, you might learn something about your history that you didn’t know. I still have chills, as I write this.

We are such a beautiful people. The Jews may be God’s chosen people, but we are his favorite. Whether some folks like it or not, our power as a people is rooted in our faith in God. That’s why in America against crippling, bitter, deadly racism, we fought for our rights and freedom.

“Voices” tells our story in such a way that we gain a new perspective on what it meant to be a Negro and to fight the good fight.

Apparently Kitchen must have rounded up the best singers this side of the Mississippi, the best dancers to ever hit the stage and the best actors with the ability to channel the Negroes they portrayed. These talented brothers and sisters give their all on stage, with flawless performances that lead you to believe their next stop is Broadway.

“Voices” tells the story of a young woman who decides to become a writer, her grandfather tells her she’s from a long line of storytellers and her gifts come naturally. Unfortunately, she’s so ‘today,’ she scoffs at the word ‘Negro,’ and sees the past as simply the past, with little or no relation to today. After all, the world is hers and she can do as she pleases. This kid needed a serious history lesson, and she received it first hand. Dropped into past, she witnessed first-hand the cause and development of the American Negro.

“Voices” is driven by powerful music, singing and dance, and takes us through slavery, freedom, the blues and jazz era. We meet the poets, writers, and performers who made the Harlem Renaissance reign supreme. We learn about our inventors, court battles, freedom marches, and the power of Paul Robeson, and Marion Anderson, all cleverly staged in song and dance.

Kitchen is the writer/director/producer and is a past winner of an NAACP Theatre Award for his work. He calls himself “a cultural artist,” and he has a strong commitment to the African American community. His body of work reflects his commitment.

Clinton F. Byrd is the executive producer.

“Voices: A Legacy to Remember” is a play that should be seen by every Black/African American family in Los Angeles. It should be required for grade school and high school students. Why?

“Voices” is more than entertainment and it’s more than a history lesson. Because of the outstanding performances–acting, singing, dancing and the music– it reaches into the core of your soul and brings a clearer understanding of American History and the role Negroes played. It’s inspiring and motivating as well.

The Negro knew hard times. Yet, the Negro envisioned a future for his people that they believed would surely come. The Negro was willing to fight and yes die for all of us Black/African American folks who are now benefiting from the fruits of their labor.

You need to make a point of seeing “Voices; A Legacy to Remember.” Bring your family and friends or just come alone, I guarantee it’s the kind of play where you will have to ‘high-five’ your neighbor.

Voices is slated to re-open in February. Check the website for details: www.voiceslegacy.com.

Gail can be reached at gail@hollywoodbychoice.com.