Benjamin Isaiah Black’s “FINALE: Curtain Call”

***This was performed live on April 22, 2015***

This was the last show I performed before I graduated. It’s me doing what I do best, doing what I love to do. It’s poetry, it’s mime, it’s film, it’s theatre, it’s music, it’s entertainment, it’s inspiring, it’s encouraging, it’s uplifting, it’s art, it’s godly. I hope you enjoy it! God bless you, and I love you!

(c) April 2015, B.I.B. Productions

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Journal Entry: Graduation

***This was written on May 23, 2015***

Dear Journal,
How’s it going? How have you been? I know this is two weeks too late, but I’ve graduated! As of Saturday, May 9, 2015, I’ve become a graduate of Ashland University! I’ve earned my Bachelors of Arts degree in General Theatre! It is fantastic! I am a college graduate! This is what I worked for the past 5 years toward! This is one of the major milestones of life I’ve been looking forward to!…And I’m going to miss Ashland so much. I miss it now. Over the past 2 weeks, I’ve had a number of dreams about Ashland. That’s been my home for the past 5 years, and now I’m done. I won’t be returning again in August. I can’t believe it. I had to say good-bye to the people, the city, the campus, the buildings, and my room…OK, so I’m a sentimental. But, can you blame me? I’ve spent almost a fifth of my life at Ashland! Whether time was spent in the theatres, the radio station, at a BSU/DOC event, in the classroom, in my room, or wherever, I loved my time at Ashland!
In fact, what all have I done at Ashland? Hmm…Let’s see if I can remember:
Freshman Year: Move onto campus (08/20/2010)
University Choir (08/2010 – 05/2011)
Scene Shop scholarship hours (08/2010 – 04/2011)
Member of BSU (Black Student Union) (09/2011)
Lip Sync Contest (09/2010)
The Bro. B.I.B. Show (09/2010 – 04/2011)
• Creator/Actor/Writer/Producer/Director/Recording Engineer/Editor/Sound Designer
Of Mice and Men, “Crooks” (10/15/2010 – 10/24/2010)
• Irene Ryan Award nomination
Adjusting Focus, “Chris” (11/2010 – 04/2011)
KCACTF (Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival) (01/2011)
Recital Crew employee (01/2011 – 04/2011)
Surround Sound (01/2011 – 05/2011)
Evening of Celebration 2011 (02/23/2011)
• Actor
BLACK: a one-man show (03/23/2011)
• First original stage play
• Solo show
• Actor/Writer/Producer/Director
Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Running Crew (04/08/2011 – 04/17/2011)
Inducted in APO (Alpha Psi Omega) (04/2011)
Leadership and Recognition Awards: Emerging Leader nomination (04/2011)
WRDL Award: Outstanding Newcomer (04/2011)
University Choir Tour (05/2011)
Sophomore Year: Pathways Leader (08/2011)
88.9 WRDL, Operations’ Director (08/2011 – 03/2012)
BSU, Secretary (08/2011 – 04/2012)
APO, Member (08/2011 – 05/2012)
University Choir (08/2011 – 05/2012)
Scene Shop scholarship hours & employee (08/2011 – 04/2012)
The Bro. B.I.B. Show (09/2011 – 03/2012)
Whistle Down the Wind, “Vicar” (10/28/2011 – 11/05/2011)
Meet Michael Kaeshammar (11/11/2011)
Meet & Interview Take 6 (12/07/2011)
KCACTF (01/2012)
• Irene Ryan Award partner
NIMH’s Last Comedian Standing (01/30/2012)
Evening of Celebration (02/29/2012)
• Actor/Writer/Producer/Director, Black Out
Mr. University (03/07/2012)
• Won
One-Act Experience/Experiment 2012, Running Crew (04/18/2012 – 04/21/2012)
Junior Year: Pathways Leader (08/2012)
BSU, President (08/2012 – 04/2013)
88.9 WRDL, Production Director (08/2012 – 05/2013)
APO, Member (08/2012 – 05/2013)
Scene Shop scholarship hours & employee (08/2012 – 04/2013)
Bus Stop, Sound Designer & Sound Board Operator (09/27/2013 – 10/06/2012)
Retirement Video for Ric Goodwin (01/2013 – 04/2013)
WRDL BHM 2013 (WRDL Black History Month 2013) (02/01/2013 – 02/28/2013)
• Writer/Recording Engineer/Voice Talent/Editor/Producer
Little Shop of Horrors, “Audrey II, Manipulator”/“Wino I” (02/22/2013 – 03/02/2013)
Evening of Celebration 2013 (02/27/2013)
• Writer/Producer/Co-director, Our Journey
My Me: Stage Play (03/06/2013)
• Fourth original stage play
• Second solo show
• Actor/Writer/Producer/Director/Music Arranger
A Life in the Theatre, Sound Designer & Sound Board Operator (04/10/2013 –
04/14/2013)
Theatre Award: Outstanding Performance Award, Little Shop of Horrors (05/2013)
Senior Year I: Theatre Senior Project (05/2013 – 04/30/2014)
• Playwright, The Response
Pathways Leader (08/2013)
APO, Liason (08/2013 – 05/2014)
Production Director (08/2013 – 05/2014)
Member, DOC (Diversity On Campus) (08/2013 – 04/2014)
• Formerly known as Black Student Union
March: 50 (08/28/2013)
• Celebration of the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington
• Creator/Organizer/Student Leader
The Servant of Two Masters, “Florindo Silvio” (11/01/2013 – 11/09/2013)
KCACTF (01/2014)
• Student Directing Institute, A Raisin in the Sun
WRDL BHM 2014, (02/01/2014 – 02/28/2014)
Evening of Celebration 2014 (02/19/2014)
• Actor/Writer/Producer/Director, Thank You
• Plaque of gratitude
One-Acts & New Works 2014 (04/02/2014 – 04/06/2014)
• Tennessee Williams’ Moony’s Kid Don’t Cry, Director
• Jay Kunzi’s That’s What I’m Dreamin’, “Booty Magnet”
• Benjamin Isaiah Black’s The Response, Writer
Leadership and Recognition Awards: Diversity Enhancement Award (04/13/2014)
WRDL Award: Outstanding Senior Award (04/2014)
Theatre Award: Green Room Award (05/2014)
Theatre Award: Outstanding Performance Award, The Response (05/2014)
Senior Year II: Pathways Leader (08/2014)
88.9 WRDL, Production Director (08/2014 – 05/2015)
APO, Member (08/2014 – 12/2014)
Saint Joan, “Robert de Beaudricourt”/“Gilles de Rais (Bluebeard)”/“Bishop Peter
Cauchon” (10/03/2014 – 10/11/2014)
• Irene Ryan Award nomination
Homecoming King (10/11/2014)
In the Event of My Death, Assistant Sound Designer (10/30/2014 – 11/08/2014)
Black Magic (11/15/2014)
KCACTF (01/2015)
APO, Secretary (01/05/2015 – 05/02/2015)
Meet Rev. Dr. C.T. Vivian (01/19/2015)
WRDL BHM 2015 (02/01/2015 – 02/28/2015)
The Wizard of Oz, Assistant Sound Designer (02/13/2015 – 02/21/2015)
Evening of Celebration 2015 (02/25/2015)
• Actor/Writer/Producer/Director, Motown: a Concert Experience
• Certificate of gratitude & Eagle Head
The House of Blue Leaves, “Billy Einhorn” (04/09/2015 – 04/17/2015)
Leadership and Recognition Awards: Diversity Enhancement (04/19/2015)
FINALE: Curtain Call (04/22/2015)
• Eighth original stage play
• Third & final solo show
• Actor/Writer/Producer/Director/Music Arranger/Editor
Theatre Award: Performance Award, Saint Joan (05/02/2015)
Theatre Award: Inaugural Brother BIB Award (05/02/2015)
• Award named after me
• First presentation of this award
Spring Commencement (05/09/2015)
Wow. I mean, wow! It’s been an unbelievably fantastic ride! I remember the day I moved on the campus almost five years ago. As a young freshman, I could not have imagined doing everything I did – or, at least, I wouldn’t have been able to predict doing it all! I’ve produced eight original productions (including my radio show), I’ve written eight original stage productions (including The Response), I’ve performed in a total of fourteen shows at Ashland, I’ve gained a number of awards and honors, I was in a web series, I produced a couple of films, my voice was heard on the radio a countless number of times, I met Take 6, I shook hands with Dr. C.T. Vivian, I created and led an event that celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom – and it has been phenomenal! Between everyone I met, everything I learned, everywhere I went, and the great and many things I did, I’ve enjoyed my time at Ashland so much!
I often wondered how I’d survive the “real world” after graduation. I was afraid because I didn’t know what was going to come next. While I still don’t know, and I’m still applying to places all over, I’m at peace now. I’m comforted. I realized that this was the same way I felt that very first morning, the day I left for Ashland, nearly five years ago. And look at everything God allowed me to do. If He allowed me to soar at Ashland, I know I have nothing to worry about, so long as I put Him first. With that being said, I look forward to applying the lessons I’ve learned at Ashland and moving on to bigger and better things. My Jesus is SO good! Thank You, Jesus! Praise You, God! HALLELUJAH! BOOYIKA!

Sincerely,

Benjamin Isaiah Black

(c) May 2015, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

Journal Entry: Freshman Year

***This was written on May 19, 2011***

Dear Journal,
How’s it going? I know I haven’t talked to you in a long time, and I apologize for that. It’s been crazy busy since last time. This is my first full week back from school, and I’ve been chillaxing. Let me update you on what’s been happening.
In March, I got to perform my play, BLACK: a one-man show. The performance was absolutely fantastic, and I enjoyed every minute on that stage. Everyone who came really enjoyed it. I’m still waiting to put it on YouTube due to reasons that won’t be mentioned. Of course, I still did work on the Adjusting Focus sitcom and my radio show. I also worked backstage for Picasso at the Lapin Agile, I worked with Surround Sound (an a cappella group that two other students started), and I had some choir performances. Bryon also had an amazing recital on April 3, and I became a part of Alpha Psi Omega, the theatre fraternity (I’m Greek now!). TaShay and I have been going strong, and even though she’s spending her summer working at Cedar Point we still love each other.
Now if all of that, plus meetings and work, isn’t enough, I still have school work! For a while, I thought my professors gave me work because they thought I had nothing better to do. I got about 2-4 hours of sleep every night for 2 or 3 weeks. It finally caught up with me one afternoon when the choir had to sing at an honors’ program. We had to meet at 1:30 in the Lower Chapel, and I wasn’t up and dressed until 1:10. As I reached for my choir folder before I left with minutes to spare, I remembered I left it in the Center for the Arts building yesterday, which is on the exact other side of campus. I had to run from my dorm to CFA, and to the Chapel – which was stupid because I hadn’t eaten since 4:00 or 5:00 yesterday afternoon. It was about 1:25 when I got to the Chapel, and I thought I was going to pass out. Well, after the choir got together and began warming up, I fainted. I knew what was happening, but it felt like I was unconscious for about 5 seconds. Some of the guys carried me to another part of the Lower Chapel, and my Dad and brother took me to the Samaritan Hospital. After that trip, I started taking care of myself more.
Now that’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself this year; I enjoyed myself greatly! God has really blessed me this pas academic year. I still remember the morning of the day I moved to the campus, and I was scared out of my mind! I prayed and gave it to God, and He blessed me so greatly! It’s times like these when I remember Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” That basically means that God can give us more than we ask for. I asked Jesus to keep me and help me this year, and He’s done so much more! My grades have been excellent; I’ve got a girlfriend; I’ve made great friends and added more to my family; I’ve got a radio show; I performed my one-man show; I was nominated for an Irene Ryan award for my performance in Of Mice and Men; and I’ve done so many other wonderful things! Jesus has been with me the whole time, and I look forward to seeing what He’s going to do for me this summer and the rest of my college career! Thank You Jesus; glory, Hallelujah! BOOYIKA!

(c) May 2011, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.

Journal Entry: College

***This was written on August 23, 2010***

Dear Journal,
What’s goin’ good, doc! How’s it been? Things have been great so far; I’m finally at Ashland University! I moved in on Friday the twentieth, and today I start my classes. I’m pretty excited, I must admit. I remember Friday morning I woke up feeling pretty nervous about it all. I was preparing to leave to a new school with new people and new opportunities, responsibilities, and changes. I didn’t know if I’d excel or not; I was worried I wouldn’t do as great of a job as I could do. So I talked to God as I got in the shower (some people sing, I talk to God – everything’s exposed), and I asked Him to guide me and give me comfort and Peace at mind; and sure enough, He did!
On Monday, August 2, Mrs. Cydney Eleana Martin passed away. Mrs. Martin was a teacher at my middle school (Simon Perkins Technology Middle School), and the mother of two of my YEPAW 365 friends, Jaymes and Taylor. When reading her biography in the program of the funeral, I was reminded that Mrs. Martin attended Ashland University to earn her Master’s Degree in Education. So Journal, I’ve decided to dedicate the next several years at Ashland to her. She was kind, excellent, loving, caring, and she loved what she did. I want to be like her, to be able to live up to that excellence. I pray God will give me the strength to do just that. So here’s to the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. God bless you, I’ll talk to you soon. BOOYIKA!, BOOYIKA!, BOOYIKA!, BOOYIKA!, WHOO!

(c) August 2010, B.I.B. Productions
(P) BOOYIKA!, Inc.