A captivating ensemble of comedy, storytelling, and beatboxing arrived last Wednesday to the Student Ballroom in the form of of award winning actor, educator and beatboxer Joshua Silverstein. Silverstein covered issues such as stereotyping, identity, racism and colorism to the crowd through his personal experiences and musical collaboration.
Silverstein spoke about his difficulties trying to find where he belongs as a multiracial person with African American, Native American, and Jewish background. He also recounted the everyday stereotyping found in Hollywood as he was in search of jobs. During this time, he wanted to educate people about the racism he experienced whether they knew what they were doing or not, but instead kept his mouth shut about how that had made him feel. He went on to regale the crowd with his humor, skills of beat-boxing, and musical lyricism with a song called “Yellow” that told a story of perception. While the delivery of “Yellow” was given with light hearted humor, the term “yellow” was used to describe people of color who are lighter in skin tone and how that could contribute to their success in life. That is, until an audio clip was inserted that stated darker toned skin was the new fashion. This that the effect of taking one from the top of success to a less favorable standing. Using this medium, he explained that the color of skin has turned into a fashion statement, and how success may not always be attained completely by talent. When Silverstein is not up on stage performing, he donates his time to workshops that create an open place for people who wish to find their voice. He encourages them to explore their own methods that they may have not felt safe to elsewhere. While when he is not performing or teaching, he is both co-hosting and co-producing his new show “DOWNBEAT720,” a free performance lab for high school performing artists in Santa Monica. In his final segment, Silverstein touched on how difficult it is to constantly be judging oneself by other people, or by the past, and how at a certain point in life, it can be time to wash away the hate and face the future.
He expressed this with a powerful scene that conveyed the cutting out of his own heart, washing it, and putting it back into his chest. Silverstein conveyed a powerful message: he will not let his past darken his outlook on life; and “while the truth is painful, life is perfectly scarred, and beautifully flawed.”