Baton Rouge spoken-word artist and activist Donney Rose has amassed more than 2,000 travel miles conducting hours of interviews and days of research in order to create an epic narrative that unravels 400 years of American History.
It is an ambitious presentation called The America Audit where Rose explores America as a business and exposes its toll on Black citizens fiscally, spiritually, judicially, emotionally, and socially.
To do so, Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow committed up to 15 hours a week for a year to complete this “audit.”
“I am going all in,” Rose said, “The poem is one epic poem broken into nine different parts which all begin with a technical term used in an audit.”
Rose performed excerpts of The American Audit at the 2019 Arts Summit of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the University of Northern Iowa, and the Festival of Words in Grand Coteau.
To pull together photographs, videos, and audio records he collected for this performance, Rose interviewed researchers and activists including Michael ‘Quess’ Moore, who co-founded Take ‘Em Down NOLA; Maxine Crump, CEO of Dialogue on Race-Louisiana; Chris Tyson, president of Build Baton Rouge, Jason Perkins, Ph.D., professors Eva Baham and Lori Martin; LSU history chairman Aaron Sheehan-Dean, Ph.D.; Southern University law professor Angela Allen-Bell; historian Thomas Durant, and many others, he said.
American Audit is described as a multimedia, spoken word project that chronicles 400 years of Black American life using the extended metaphor of America as a business audited by African Americans (today). How else do you describe it to others? Rose was asked to share more on The American Audit. Read his responses at The Jozef Syndicate.