One-person play at Penn Museum explores travel and the black experience

Shara Dae Howard
November 09, 2018 - 6:12 pm
Traveling While Black

Shara Dae Howard | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- The Penn Museum is hosting a one-person play that explores travel and the black experience.

Inspired by Langston Hughes’ autobiographical journey "I Wonder As I Wander," Idris Cooper-Anifowoshe examines the stresses of African-American travel from historical colonialism to modern day tourism. Cooper-Anifowoshe says "Traveling While Black," the second part to her series "Adventures of a Black Girl," was written as a historical narrative chronicling how black people travel...with joy in mind.

"Traveling is a way to get away from the mythology that you've told yourself that is not helping you," she explained. "You also have time to not be who everybody else needs you to be."

Cooper-Anifowoshe says the play addresses traveling as source of freedom, as her experience as an African-American outside of America allowed her to be an individual, rather than just the victim of colonialism.

"I traveled while black through most of Europe without every actually having to be black," she said.

What is the benefit of that?

"I can just be myself," Cooper-Anifowoshe said. "I don' have to be burdened by someone else's idea of what my history is, or someone's connection to my history."

The show runs Nov. 9 through Nov. 10 at the Penn Museum.