CLEVELAND, Ohio — Everyone needs heroes. And self-proclaimed griot Napoleon Maddox presents a new hero in a new production “The All Saints Overture” at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 15, at the Maltz Performing Arts Center, 1855 Ansel Rd, Cleveland.
A “griot” is an itinerant poet/musician/storyteller focused on oral history in West Africa. In this role, Maddox, originally from Ohio, chose to tell the story of Toussaint Louverture through a mix of jazz, electro and hip-hop songs. The story is a powerful look at a relatively unknown soldier and general who was also an intellectual and brilliant strategist. It’s also an honest look at history.
“The wisdom and intellect of these freedom fighters is not talked about enough,” Maddox says. “The audience for this project is made up of thousands of people like me who, unfortunately, did not learn this powerful and precious story in school. It is an incredible inspiration for humanity and the struggles for liberation in the whole world.
Louverture was born a slave in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, now known as Haiti. He won his freedom and fought in the French army. He was so respected for his military prowess that he rose to the rank of general.
Then, Louverture fights against the French to abolish slavery in Santo Domingo. Then he wrote a constitution for the new country of Haiti. For this he was imprisoned in France, where he died.
It’s a story for everyone. “The African Diaspora should know that we resisted and won,” says Maddox. “They need to know that not all defeats are final.”
“White people need to understand the depth of the injustice of colonialism and white terror and that the continual story we are told of Haiti’s failure is a cover for a people who have been sabotaged,” he said. he.
In the show, Maddox presents historical figures in a contemporary context so that the audience can see the relevance of these characters’ lives. Maddox and his fellow artists have written songs that tell how they are personally affected by this story.
Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 the day of the show.