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No one paid attention when the five-member band began playing their rhythmic sounds to a crowd of people either still rolling in or conversing loudly to a friend five rows back. The attention quickly shifted onstage as actor/poet/musician Malcolm-Jamal Warner played his bass and got lost into his own world paying no attention to the rest of us.
Decked out in a grey long sleeve Rocawear shirt, over a T-shirt underneath and worn blue jeans, fresh white kicks, Warner spoke in lyrical prose. Malcolm stayed in the middle of the stage began banging out verse after verse of sex, passion, the definition of a man, making fun of the hip-hop culture and having people question if they are satisfied with their lives.
There is nothing sexier than a man who can preach the beauty, the sensuality and sway to the pulsating movements on making hot, passionate hot love. This wasn’t the only topic Warner broached his one-man show which consists of rhymes, beats and orgasmic poetry.
He eloquently describes the need for black men to leave the adolescent nonsense behind them, take off the overly expensive bling etched across the teeth and be a strong role model in the community so the next generation will have someone to emulate. Besides being a versatile actor and master wordsmith, he is also an accomplished musician, has a successful myspace page, www.myspace.com/malcolmjamalwarner with veteran and new fans locating his next show.
Divided into three sections, Thoughts & Images, Women and Transitions, Warner takes great pain in making sure he doesn’t say the same thing in a different way, otherwise he would appear contrite. He touched each subject matter with strong conviction and emits an I-dare-you-to-tell-me-I’m-wrong presence. His insight about relationships in the Women segment is both intuitive and emotive. He freely expressed the effects a woman had over him “Sprung”.
He took that same freedom twisted it around into inventory of concerns in “Confessions of Confused Romantic” emphasizing the questions of romance today, such, as if women truly really wants a sensitive man or does that look good on his résumé. Warner completely reveals vulnerability and says the concerns everyone has but won’t say out loud.
“Good sex makes you write some damn good poetry,” he proudly said after delivering another well-written piece. He left the dizzying and complex world of love and relationships and shifted to the slow inevitable destruction of urban culture in Thoughts & Images. With menacing pictures of rappers-turned-foes 50 cent and The Game behind him representing the gangsta lifestyle, Warner dares the new generation in “Project Image” to look beyond the bling surface and see what’s really important. In this case, their lives. Let’s face it, the Escalade with the Lamborghini doors 50 boasts about won’t feed the family or help you graduate from school. Warner continues his words of sanguinity in “Training Daze” and “This Dope Called Hope” in Transitions.
In “Training”, he delights the women with mini workout showing off well-toned biceps while explaining that the body and mind must be strong in order to deal with the mess in the world. In fervent agitation, he repeats “Love yourself/Respect yourself,” stomping his feet while his tied back braids swing to his beat, demanding that people believe in themselves, take a good long look and change what you don’t like.
His band mates and the audience looked moved by the intensity of his words in his voice. Little Theo Huxtable is all grown up and looking deliciously fine. He oozes confidence, a sexy swagger and says what we all need to remember when the feeling of loss springs up. He is the man.
Love & Other Social Issues plays at the Assistance League Playhouse, 1367 N. St. Andrews Place, Los Angeles, runs Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. until Sunday, July 8. For tickets call (323) 960-7784 or visit www.plays411.com.