Holler If Ya Hear Me, the Broadway play inspired by Tupac Shakur’s music, ended its run only a month in, apparently due to financial difficulties. Saul Williams, who portrayed the lead in the play, says in an interview with Rolling Stone that it was cancelled due to a lack of promotion and that “there was something deeply embedded in a lot of the reviews that went deeper than just a dislike of the play.”
“There is no disconnect between this and Iggy Azalea, an Australian girl rapping with a Southern accent, being #1 on the charts,” Williams says in the Rolling Stone interview. “It’s all related to where we are right now as a culture and within the culture of the arts.”
Williams also said that activist Harry Belafonte, who said in a 2012 interview that Jay-Z and Beyonce “turned their back on social responsibility,” made comments about the play’s cultural standing to him after seeing the play. “‘You took an Afrocentric-themed play and placed it on a Eurocentric stage,’” Belafonte said, according to Williams. “’The problems you’ll face are larger than you think.’”
As for the future of Hip Hop musicals on Broadway, Williams says, “Who are we fooling? More Hip Hop musicals are inevitable if Broadway wishes to survive.”
Williams does not anticipate that this is the end of Holler If Ya Hear Me.
“When you do something fresh and new,” Williams said, “you’re going to face obstacles and I promise you this story isn’t over.”