Showing posts from August, 2017

I Am Alfonso Jones, by Tony Medina, Stacey Robinson, and John Jennings

The public’s current awareness of dubious law enforcement killings of black Americans seems to date from Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Missouri, and the rise of Black Lives Matter in the ensuing protests. Medina’s story synthesizes the details of about a half-dozen of these tragedies into the vessel of Alfonso Jones, and uses the journeys of his shade to unlock a greater, longer, sadder history than most are aware of. Set to play the Old Hamlet in a hip-hop inflected high school production of Shakespeare’s play, Alfonso Jones is killed by a security guard who claimed to mistake the suit hanger in the teen’s hand for a gun. Instead of playing a ghost, he becomes one himself. The severed threads of his life – the crush he was shopping with and about to confess his feelings to, the soon-to-be-released incarcerated father he’d never met, and his friends and frenemies at school – carry on in various ways as he watches his name become famous around the world even as it’s dragged throug