Jasmine Lee-Jones's play reinforces Black Women's Lives Matter more than the Kardashians
“It’s what it represents. Things that oppress us. Weigh us down. This is for all the wxmen that were denied a right to a voice. To expression. All the black wxmen. . . black femmes denied their right to just . . . be.”
I can’t pretend that I am anything except an old git or an old bag in the vernacular of my youth. I can’t pretend to be a super hip white liberal into black drama and identify with Chloe (Leanne Henlon) who fantasises on Twitter about killing Kylie Jenner.
What I can suggest that if you are not au fait with Twitter slang is to get yourself a copy of the text and a dictionary of slang, online is probably more up to date that the hard back versions, before you see the play.
In my teens I worked in a card shop in Ladbroke Grove and was so embarrassed when a customer asked for help choosing a card for the birth of a new baby when none of the cards looked like her. Same goes for band aids. Last week I was in Boots and saw black and brown Elastoplasts as well as the sepia. It has taken 50 years for the manufacturers to catch up and give people what they want and can identify with.
This week I saw J’Ouvert at the Harold Pinter about the Notting Hill Carnival. Most of the audience were young and black. At the Royal Court today, for Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, the audience were considerably younger than the usual theatre crowd, twenties and thirties, but they were overwhelmingly white.
Some of the sting has gone out of the outrage at Kylie Jenner at 21 being declared by Forbes International as the youngest billionaire in 2019 as flaws have been uncovered in the auditing, which led to her wealth being over estimated. Her billionaire status has been officially revoked.
I can totally identify with Chloe’s fury at natural Black/African lips being classed as ugly while white women use fillers to flesh out their thinner lips. Same goes for the Kardashians with their bottom enhancers to give their derrieres the prominence of African women. The idea that woman should alter themselves to serve the gods of physical attraction is understandable but inevitably leads to feelings of inadequacy or attempts to turn the clock back.
Rajha Shakiry’s beautiful set is dominated by a web, an interlaced netting of flies to floor structure with long threads hanging down. Jessica Hung Han Yun and Amy Mae have lit this set excitingly.
The two themes of this year of lockdowns apart from Covid have been Black Lives Matter at the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the safety of women after Londoner Sarah Everard was also killed by a policeman, in Kent. For Black women it is double jeopardy and it is time for the Arts to give them a voice.
Jasmine Lee-Jones has created Kara (Tia Bannon) and Cleo (Leanne Henlon) who debate the issues. You don’t need a dictionary to read the last few life affirming pages of Ms Lee-Jones’s innovative script.
Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner
Written by Jasmine Lee-Jones
Directed by Milli Bhatia
Director: Milli Bhatia
Designer: Rajha Shakiry
Lighting Designer: Jessica Hung Han Yun
Sound Designer: Elena Peña
Movement: Delphine Gaborit
Therapeutic Associate: Wabriya King
Running Time: One hour 30 minutes without an interval
Booking to 27th July 2021
The Royal Court
Jerwood Theatre Downstairs
London SW1W 8AS
Phone: 020 7565 5000
Tube: Sloane Square
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge at the Royal Court
at the matinée on 26th June 2021