THE BLOG
08/15/2013 06:48 pm ET Updated Oct 14, 2013

WWMD? (What Would Marcus Do?)

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SETTING: Philadelphia. November 2012. 6:50 p.m. Lobby of the United Pan-African Building ("UPA").

CHARACTERS:
• Junie, 27 years old Afro-Puerto Rican
• Amir, 23 years old African-American
• Paul, 69 years old African American

The UPA lobby. JUNIE leans against the wall, reading a newspaper. AMIR enters.

AMIR: Hey man.

JUNIE: What's up?

PAUL enters with a bag slung across his chest, papers poking out. He holds a small plant in one hand. JUNIE and AMIR exchange rough embraces with PAUL.

AMIR: Did you get my email?

PAUL: Yes, I did.

AMIR: Did you send the recommendation?

PAUL: Can I catch my breath?

AMIR: It's due tomorrow.

PAUL: There's nothing like planning ahead.

AMIR: Sorry.

PAUL: Don't be sorry. I hate sorry people. Get yourself organized. Junie, I thought you were setting up. What're you doing out here?

AMIR: He's waiting for Leona.

JUNIE: How do you know what I'm waiting for? Leona is fine.

PAUL: I'm glad you made it.

JUNIE: Thanks for the invite man.

PAUL: Can you greet our guests? I'll be back.

PAUL exits.

JUNIE: What guests?

AMIR: Let go of the negativity.

JUNIE: I'm just sayin.' I set up 25 chairs. Last time we had 10 people.

AMIR: That was last time, my brother.

JUNIE: We got eight minutes. Even with CP time, there ain't gonna be no mad rush.

AMIR: Did you invite anyone?

JUNIE: Like who?

AMIR: Shari.

JUNIE: Why you worried about Shari?

AMIR: Brother you just got back with your lady. You're doggin' her already.

JUNIE: Shut the f**k up.

AMIR: Language. Look, I'm saying you're gonna raise a strong little man, right?

JUNIE: What're you talking about?

AMIR: You got to have a plan for your family.

JUNIE: I believe in Plan B.

AMIR: That morning after pill? I read that stuff is hard on the sisters' bodies.

JUNIE: What?

AMIR: Birth control. Plan A should have been contraceptives. You have a little prince now.

JUNIE: Right. I got a baby. Not you.

PAUL returns without his bag and plant.

PAUL: Did you bring the water Amir?

AMIR: Oh man. I forgot to--

JUNIE: I got the water.

JUNIE takes a small water bottle out of his pocket.

JUNIE (CONT'D): Amir, how you gonna pour libations without water?

AMIR: I said I forgot.

JUNIE: You say lots of things 'my brother.'

PAUL: I hope you both got the Garvey handout.

AMIR: I did Brother Paul. It was very informational. Thank you.

PAUL: Junie?

JUNIE: I don't have a computer.

AMIR: Brother, SEPTA puts you two blocks from the Free Library.

JUNIE: Ain't nothin' free about takin' SEPTA anywhere.

PAUL: I have some extra handouts in my bag. You can grab one before we start.

JUNIE: Thanks.

PAUL: Garvey was the man. We wouldn't have the UPA without him.

JUNIE: I guess.

AMIR: You guess?

JUNIE: I'm just sayin'. Yo. The same time the motherf**ker is preachin' self-sufficiency and gettin' back to our African roots, he's wearin' sh*t that looks like he just came out of Buckingham Palace.

AMIR: Brother, with all the things Garvey did, is that all you can focus on? Besides getting close to Leona.

JUNIE: Shut the f**k up Leopold.

AMIR: Call me by my name.

PAUL shakes his head, looking at both of them. He holds up a hand in a 'stop' gesture.

JUNIE: Leopold is your name.

PAUL: Alright.

AMIR: My name is Leopold Amir--

JUNIE: Williams.

AMIR: My parents named me after Leopold Senghor.

JUNIE: You want a medal?

PAUL: It doesn't matter what we call ourselves. We're here for a purpose. And raising consciousness is --

JUNIE: My folks named me after my Pop.

AMIR: What's your Pop's name?

JUNIE: Junie. I'll be back.

JUNIE quickly exits into the hall.

PAUL: Where's he going?

AMIR: To talk to Leona.

PAUL: Why're you looking like that? Is she your girl?

AMIR: No, but I thought --

PAUL: 'But you thought' you'd tell Junie what to do. Amir, you've got to focus on 'self'.

AMIR: I'm trying to help the brother raise a strong family.

AMIR stands.

PAUL: You should be trying to give me the address for that letter of recommendation.

AMIR: My bad.

AMIR pulls a piece of paper out of his pants pocket.

AMIR (CONT'D): Here it is.

PAUL: Why do you want to go there?

AMIR: Because they have a good program.

PAUL: Better than Clark-Atlanta?

AMIR: I don't know.

PAUL: What about Temple? You've got Asante and Monteiro. That brother, Coard is teaching the community about their legal rights -- for free. Did you know that Temple was the first program to give out a PhD in African American studies?

AMIR: Temple is trying to gut its African American studies program.

PAUL: I heard. That's all the more reason they need you.

AMIR: Harvard has money. U. Penn has money.

PAUL: Aside from money, what do those places have?

AMIR: I need a full ride. And Princeton has Cornel West.

PAUL: Had.

AMIR: They've got Toni Morrison.

PAUL: Now you're studying creative writing? I thought you wanted to focus on history and philosophy, not literature.

AMIR: I do but --

JUNIE returns, smiling.

AMIR (CONT'D): You're finished sweating Leona?

JUNIE: I could kick your ass right now and not even break a sweat. You're a --

PAUL: Enough.

AMIR: I'm looking out for the black family.

They begin to exit into the meeting.

JUNIE: Your punk-ass ain't never gonna have a family because you can't get a woman.

AMIR: Brother, I'll let that insult slide because I know you're feeding into some repressed anger right now. You need to get with that sankofa, reflect on our history. Know where you came from.

JUNIE: I'm from North Philly.

AMIR: I'm telling you about our history. You need to look back to go forward.

JUNIE: I need to go forward. Period.

AMIR: Your spiritual balance is --

JUNIE: Good enough to shut you the f**k up.

PAUL: Let's get our heads together. I need you to help me pour libations.

JUNIE: I'll help you. I know you need water to pour libations, which is why I brought some.

AMIR: Shut the f**k up Junie.

Verbal sparring continues as they exit into the meeting and change the world.

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