Cultural Warrior Liza Jessie Peterson Fights The Powers That Be [Interview]
Amy Linden sits down with artist and prison reform advocate, Liza Jessie Peterson, to talk about her one-woman show, The Peculiar Patriot and fighting the powers that be.
In theory, Labor Day is meant to be a day off. But not for Liza Jessie Peterson. In fact, the Philly native and longtime Brooklynite has barely enough wiggle room to bike down to a local café for a quick bite and a glass of Cabernet before getting back to the business of being a cultural warrior.
Peterson, whose CV includes Def Poetry Jam, a NYC public school teaching artist, advocate for prison reform and most recently memoirist, (All Day: A Year of Love and Survival Teaching Incarcerated Kids at Rikers Island) is readying the world debut of her one-woman show The Peculiar Patriot, in previews Sept. 13-16 and in production Sept. 17-Oct. 1t at Harlem’s National Black Theater.
Previously workshopped throughout the country, The Peculiar Patriot is an unflinching, and often mordantly funny look at injustice, racism and the big business of mass incarceration. Speaking to her art, Peterson offers, “There are class, economic and race issues at the core of this, you know as a person of color, a black woman in this world, walking the country in this skin I’m in, has always been an act of resistance for myself, my nephews, cousins, my father, my community.”
@Okayplayer sat down with the multifaceted creative to talk about using art to fight the powers that be, The Peculiar Patriot and more.