Paying to be Insulted
By Wanda Sabir
the first song out of the African's mouths . . . F-God, to the last
note, "The Book of Mormon" is an insult to African sensibility. White
Jesus, cursed black gods . . . ignorant starving diseased backward
Africans who are cutting women's clitorises off, and raping babies to
cure AIDS. All the saviors are young white men in white shirts and dark
slacks. The only time you see a big performance number starring the
natives, it takes place in Elder Price's head when he dreams he is in
hell, and guess who the devil is? A black man in red, playing guitar
like Jimi Hendrix. There were a lot of black people in this hell,
celebrities too. One was Johnnie Cochran -- I almost walked out.
Then it got worse.
don't know how conscious black people told me they liked the play. It
is a play about missionaries; these missionaries are from New York. I
don't know if I knew the history of this church, but frankly,
proselytizing has really stepped it up. Imagine an entire theatre full
of people paying to be brainwashed? The times must be hard for white
supremacy. Perhaps the musical's appeal is the fact that it supports the
mythology of black inferiority and heathenism. One of the closing songs
is "We are Africa." Guess who sings it? The white boys.
about the devil being yellow and how Africans need to watch out for
Asians is correct-- China to be exact, but look who is telling the
story, missionaries who are also the enemy to African sovereignty. Up to 1978, Mormons believed all black people were devils too. Now, there are lots of black Mormons who attend temple in Oakland. There was even a black bishop in charge of this region, but back to the plot, the
reason this village is so violated and economically stressed is because
western nations have exploited its resources and kept the indigenous
peoples at odds with one another, so no one recognizes the true enemy.
of the boys (Elder Cunningham) has the nerve to like the chief's
daughter, Nabulungi (Alexandra Ncube), but he cannot pronounce her name,
yet she answers to all his ridiculous attempts. She sees Salt Lake City
as the Promised Land the Mormon missionaries will take her people to,
if they believe. Just a small price to pay. She convinces her village
and other villagers nearby to give the missionaries a chance. Maybe
these white men will be different. She gives these boys an in; up to
that point, Africans were not interested in Mormons or their religion.
makes Cunningham's approach different is that he mixes folklore with
truth, so that the god of his book agrees with the values he is
promoting. He crafts a tale that addresses the ills these Ugandans face.
What he tells Nabulungi's people is not on its pages, so in the end,
Cunningham has to rewrite the book of Mormon. Cure AIDS with a green
frog -- remember the green monkey theory of infection?
and Price, two teenagers from NYC are introduced to a people supposedly without
values or regard for life, not to mention god. These false ideas just
further a stereotypical primitive dark continent scenario. Obviously,
these black people need saving from themselves. The village chief is a
mockery, so is the physician who complains about bugs in his genitals --
it is all slapstick humor. Remember "Scottsboro Boys," the vaudeville
When the two men are robbed just as they arrive in the
dusty little village, its chief teaches them his people's favorite
saying when things go awry, F-god. . . Infidels? This is the same type
rumor or mythology that started the trade in human beings, my ancestors
600 years ago. The creative trilogy that wrote and produced this trash
-- Robert Lopez, Matt Stone, and Trey Parker, should be tarred and
The music might be catchy and the choreography
cool, but what these catchy tunes do to the souls of its listeners is
not worth the risk. At the end of the play, the villagers are gone. In
their places stand imposters, Mormons ringing the bells of other
Africans. Even the warlord is converted -- gone are the African cultural
garments. The converts may be black or brown on the outside, but inside
they are brainwashed . . . Joseph Smith, Brigham Young . . . on the
inside. Latter Day Saints is just another Sweet by and Bye tale. Don't
worry about today; let the multinationals steal, pillage, rob your
nation blind. God's going to take care of you -- "Later."
Entire theatres of people since it went up in NYC March 2011 have been converted.
is even a finale after the ovation. I couldn't take it anymore and left
before the final bow. There is a reason why it took me three years to
go see this play. Don't do it.