WHITE @ Pleasance Courtyard

Spoken word, looped vocals and emotionally charged lyricism combine together as Koko Brown learns where she fits in this world

Review by Clare Sinclair | 22 Aug 2018

When your identity spans two cultures, where do you fit in? Koko Brown’s WHITE is about just that: growing up as a mixed-race girl in Britain, often judged by onlookers as either too black to be accepted as white; and too white to be accepted as black. So how do you come to terms with your identity when everyone else is determined to judge who you are, and who you are not?

Spoken word, looped vocals and emotionally charged lyricism combine together as Brown guides us through how life was for her as a young girl, a teen and then as a woman learning where she fit in in this world. Brown wanted to write a show about being mixed-race and speak for everybody who identified with that, but what she discovered is that the only commonality we all have is our uniqueness.

In a world where hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter need to exist amid racial discrimination, it’s paramount to know how questions such as ‘who are you?’ and ‘where are you really from?’ are so damaging, and unnecessary. Despite the challenges she’s faced while growing up straddling two cultures, the heart of Brown’s performance is ultimately about how as long as we know who we are, where our roots are, then we can be at peace in ourselves, highlighted in a particularly beautiful segment about her parents, and how she's a perfect mix of the best – and worst – elements of them both. Brown delivers her message with raw emotion and strength, both when singing and with the spoken word. She knows not only how to engage but also how to draw an audience in, which makes for a performance that poignant at times, but one which asks the hard and important questions.

WHITE, Pleasance Courtyard, 15-17 Aug (not 20), 11:30am, £9-£10

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