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Jeremy O. Harris

Anand Giridharadas: “There is this kind of Jonathan Franzeny view out there in the artistic realm that if you are operating down here in the world of the tweet and the TV hit and the clapback, you’re not serious up there. How do you think about that spectrum of seriousness?”

Jeremy O. Harris: I had to just give it up. Because already there was going to be a veneer of me not being serious enough because I am Black and gay. And I’m also charismatic, right? So those three things, combined, make people inherently distrustful of how you move through the world. And when I saw that people were getting upset with me, or side-eyeing the success I was having, or denigrating the success I was having because I was utilizing the things that make people popular in the age of social media — like Twitter, Instagram, retweets from people like Sarah Paulson or the lead singer of Grizzly Bear in relation to the first run of “Slave Play” — I realized that there was no way I was going to be able to police this if I was also going to try to be successful. Because those articulations that I wasn’t serious enough were attempts by people who hold the keys of power to keep the keys. When my play was going to Broadway, I had suddenly jumped 30 years ahead in my career. And I wanted to remind people that I was still 30. I had just graduated grad school. There was a lot of experimentation that I wanted to do along the way of figuring out what my voice is and how I wanted to use it.”

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