Zell Miller III's 'Hands Up Hoodies Down'
Hands Up Hoodies Down was originally staged in March of this year at the Vortex, but its origins go back to 2012, when the killing of Trayvon Martin affected Miller, in his words, "not only as an artist, but also as a dad."
In the years since, he continued to read more and more news stories about the violent deaths of black Americans, often at the hands of police officers. "It just got to the point, for me as an artist," Miller says, "I felt like I needed to say something."
That need for expression became Hands Up Hoodies Down.
Miller's quick to point out that Hands Up Hoodies Down isn't an anti-police show. "There are a lot of officers who are doing their job, and I don't think that they should... have the finger pointed at them or feel the brunt of anger," he says. "This play is about the officers who make bad choices."
The show's also not a somber lecture -- it features hip-hop dancers and musicians, spoken word poets, and more. "It's a high-energy show," Miller says. In additional to Miller himself, Hands Up Hoodies Down features Sadé Jones and dancers from the Ashé Academy, T-Fly, DaShade Moonbeam, and more. "It's a very, very entertaining show," Miller promises, "but you walk away with a message, which is what I think theater is supposed to be."