By Aiden Willis
Erin Cole has set out on a lofty mission of writing a play about a new Black rookie police officer. This police officer finds himself wrestling between letting a specific incident of injustice slide and doing what is right as a Black Man in society. This play is so needed in light of what is going on in this country. Hopefully this play will bring about more discussion around police brutality and the injustices going on in this country. We knew that we, of course. had to go see the play, but as well as link up with Erin herself to find out more about her and what inspired the play, Ricochet:
Give us some background on you and how you ended up in Memphis?
My beginning was here. I was born and raised in Memphis, “Haven bred, cornbread fed as they say.” I graduated from the University of Missouri- Columbia, then moved to Orlando, then Atlanta and came back home to marry my man Mario.
As a Black Woman how do you see God at working through you?
Psalm 51 says, “surely you desire truth from my inmost being”. This is a Psalm of repentance, written by David after he’s told a few dark lies. The plea for truth is a call for God to restore his identity. As women of color, we can often feel the need to become something we are not, losing sight of all God created us to be. I feel God constantly calling me to live in the fullness of who I am. This is difficult for me. I’m a recovering approval addict and people pleaser. But I know who I am and in Him, that is enough. So this call to be my authentic self may look like boldly, yet lovingly sharing how a friend, who isn’t black, offends me or makes a comment that I know would offend another black person- even when I know they didn’t mean to. It means engaging in exhausting conversation about things I’ve personally been talking about for 10 years (power, privilege and genuine love in multiethnic context). When I stop being honest, I stop being me and consequently, in disharmony with my Savior. I see him at work by calling me to be me, boldly, in everywhere he places me.
What inspired Ricochet? Also what inspires you to write?
Ricochet was inspired by the back to back to back murders, shootings, and protest that took place in 2016 (Philando Castile, Alton Sterling and so on). While mourning over these things I heard from white brothers and sisters a few times, “I’m so sorry you have to go through this”, as if the slaughter of an unarmed black man isn’t a human loss. Shouldn’t we all be ‘going through this’? At some point, these injustices have to stop being my loss or your loss- it needs to be OUR loss. I started dreaming of a world where a white man couldn’t walk away from the issues, acquitted. I wanted to explore a world where we were different, yet family. In order to move the race conversation forward white people have to be just as uncomfortable, agitated and conflicted in their identity as black folks have been.
How do you hope people see Christ through Ricochet?
How do I hope people see Christ through Ricochet? I have so many thoughts on this! I think that’s a high goal for people to see Christ through this play. It took me 20 years to see Christ and I was going to church every Sunday. So I don’t have time as a writer to accomplish that for the characters in this particular show, without it being super cheesy and pretentious. However, as a believer, everything I create is through a my Christ- centered perspective and someone may very well see Christ. I saw him in Avatar and even Birdbox. I don’t think that was the writer’s goal. As a writer, I don’t want to tell people what to think, I simply what to hold up the mirror so people can see themselves and if they see Christ, then we must credit the Holy Spirit for that miracle.
Ricochet is playing at the MMEBC Complex (1248 Haynes Street), Memphis, TN 38114! The play will run March 29th and 30th at 7:30 PM, as well as March 30th and 31st at 3PM. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $30 for VIP Tickets. If you are in the Memphis area, please go check out this play. We can not wait to see it, we know it’s going to be amazing!
Erin thank you for using your creativity to write a much needed story! We are praying for you, your family, and whatever the Lord leads you to accomplish next! Keep being the phenomenal Black Woman that you are!