He died this past Sunday. Honesty I didn't think much of him since about high school. We had this text called African American Literature. One of his plays was in it called The Piano Lesson. It was an intersting play about a man wanting his family's piano to sell it and get some cash for his purposes. His sister wants to keep it. And then there are some other characters who seem very real even though this play was set in about the Great Depression. I have a TV movie version on tape at home and I haven't seen it in years. Perhaps as soon as I get a new VCR I'll watch it again. Or at the very least I'd like to find a way to digitalize it.
BTW, I have to question if anyone in the black community know who he is. It's possible a majority of black Americans aren't exactly into the arts. The only art I've ever notice black folks taking an interest in is popular music. We don't seem to be interested in theater, paintings, and sculpture. It doesn' really change much once we get educated because in college you must take a class in the humanities.
Today the only black playright I can name off the top of my head is Tyler Perry. And he's doing very well if you read the pages of Ebony and Jet. He has a mansion and cars. If you really read you'd know that he was homeless for a time before he finally struck gold.
Honestly I don't care much for Mr. Perry's work. It frequently involves a charcter of an older black woman (Perry in drag) who seems to have a short temper, a cutting delivery, and a gun. But people watch it. BTW, I always see clips of his plays in advertisements. It always seems lively the quote burst out laughing all the time. I'm not used to that however there isn't a doubt in my mind that Perry's plays were meant for that.
Perhaps Perry's plays which are popular among black Americans can translate toward other black playwrights. Hopefully we'll know more about August Wilson. Hopefully more of us will recognize The Piano Lesson from our education in elementary and secondary school. Most importantly, hopefully there will be future black playwrights born from our current experiences today.