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Jordan E. Cooper, the mind behind the hit Broadway play ‘Ain’t No Mo’, received multiple Tony nominations this week. Cooper, the youngest Black playwright in Broadway history at just 27, reigned in six total nominations. Two of those nominations are for Best Actor and Best Play.
‘Ain’t No Mo’ is a series of short comedy skits compiled against a backdrop of a strange future.
According to its website, the play “dares to ask the incendiary question, ‘What if the U.S. government offered Black Americans one-way plane tickets to Africa?'”
“Moving faster than a transatlantic jet plane,” the description continues, “this unprecedented, unpredictable comedy speeds through the turbulent skies of being Black in today’s America.”
‘Ain’t No Mo’ received early backing from producers Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade, Lee Daniels and RuPaul Charles.
Roughly one week after opening on December 1, 2022, the play was facing imminent closure. A social media campaign gave the play new life for a few weeks, but the lights ultimately went dark on December 23rd.
Despite a short run on Broadway, Ain’t No Mo is one of the top Tony nominated plays of 2022.
Jordan E. Cooper describes the experience of Ain’t No Mo as both “frustrating” and “a dream come true”
In an interview with CBS New York, Cooper said he traveled home to Texas to watch the nominations with family.
Cooper said it was “special to watch those nominations in the same living room” where he grew up doing plays.
Cooper developed the idea for the play amid a rash of shootings of young Black men across America. “Why do we put up with this?” Cooper asked himself. “Why do we live in this country that treats us like this – why don’t we just all get on a plane and leave?”
The playwright described it as a “frustrating experience” to see the play close so quickly.
“Yes, I was living my dream,” Cooper said, “but at the same time I was having to fight for my life in a way.”
In a post on his Instagram account after the nominations were announced, Cooper said he was “overwhelmed and grateful.”
“Thank you to COMMUNITY who rallied and lifted this thing up even when people wouldn’t see its worth,” he wrote. “Don’t give up on what you believe to be so.”