The Spring 2019 production, The Passage: Stories from The Maafa is directed by Kymbali Craig and
written and produced by Afrikan Luv Company founder, Jawanza Bakari.
Writer and Producer
Jawanza Bakari was born Lonnie Spencer in Queens and raised in Far Rockaway, New York. Jawanza graduated from SUNY at Downstate University with a BS in Physical Therapy.
Jawanza began to notice his gift for writing in his late twenties but did not bring it to reality until he self-published his first novel, Black to the Struggle with Afrikan Love (2000). This was followed by Provocative Thought: 21st Century Issues for Discussion Confronting People of Afrikan Descent (2004). In 2007, Jawanza wrote The Passage: Poems from the Maafa, which was inspired by the Maafa production at the Saint Paul's Baptist Churchin Brooklyn, under the leadership of Reverend Johnny Ray Youngblood. That same production, inspired Jawanza's first theatrical production, The Passage: Stories from the Maafa in 2008.
Jawanza has written, directed, and produced over ten plays since his theatrical debut. His credits include: Journey Continued (2009), Tears of the Lonely (2011), Tears of the Lonely Part 2: Another Session (2013), Poetic Love (2013), Where are All the Good Black Men (2014), Emi Trilogy (2015), Emi Pentalogy (2017), and Morning Coffee (2018). Jawanza has also written several essays and manuscripts dealing with African culture, cosmology, and history.
In 2014, Jawanza founded the Afrikan Luv Company which is a not for profit 501(c)3 community organization to make a social difference in the community of color by challenging negative stereotypes that are geared to demean people of African ancestry by producing theatrical productions that celebrate as well as educate people of African ancestry. The non profit also offers a Creative Writers Workshop designed for inner city youths of (but not limited to) African descent between the ages of 13 to 17 to help them develop or improve their creative writing skills.
Jawanza is happy to be bringing back The Passage: Stories from the Maafa to a new audience in the Spring of 2019, and hopes to educate and inspire a new generation to embrace and give back the love our ancestors have given us the last 500 years.