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Strange Fruit: 'Buster' Musical Tells Story of Activist Louis Coleman

Laura Ellis

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Many of Louisville's activist leaders got their start marching behind the same man: the Rev. Louis Coleman. Now his life's work is being portrayed in a new musical called "Buster," written by Larry Muhammad and directed by William P. Bradford II.

They both stopped by the studio this week to talk about the project, which opens Thursday and runs through July 26.

In Juicy Fruit, we talk about the "Respond with Love" campaign, started by Muslim groups to raise money to rebuild black churches recently destroyed by fires in the South. The effort, led by the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative and the Arab American Association of New York, defies the widely held idea of animosity between Muslims and Christians.

We also talk about recent data showing that Latino/as now outnumber white people in California.

And we almost can't believe it, but Raven-Symone did something good this week. She went head-to-head with Candace Cameron Bure when "The View" panel discussed the bakery in Oregon who refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple.

And we close out this week's show with Jai's own reflections on the legacy of Rev. Coleman. His first time getting a citation for protest was with Coleman, demonstrating against the lack of minority contractors building Slugger Field.

But it was only a few years later Jai was writing a column for The Courier-Journal against Coleman. Jefferson County Public Schools was considering adding anti-discrimination protections for LGBT employees, which Coleman publicly opposed, saying, "I just don't think policies should be put in place to protect habits or behaviors."

Many of us know people like this: activists who are very dedicated to one social justice cause, but seem ignorant or just plain bigoted on another. No one knows how Coleman's views on queer issues may have evolved had he lived into our current era of wider LGBT-acceptance. So for gay black folks, his legacy is a complicated one.

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects. Email Laura at lellis@lpm.org.