Jordan E. Cooper is the creator of the play “Ain’t No Mo,” making history at the age of 27 as the youngest Black playwright in Broadway history, The Black Wall Street Times reports. The play is a collection of short comedy skits situated against an Afrofuturistic background and received early support from A-list producers like Gabrielle Union, Dwayne Wade, RuPaul Charles and Lee Daniels. The play follows the sketch-comedy set in an alternate universe where the United States government has created a program offering every Black person in America, a one-way ticket to Africa
“Moving faster than a transatlantic jet plane, this unprecedented, unpredictable comedy speeds through the turbulent skies of being Black in today’s America. Brilliantly blending sketch, satire, avant garde theater, and a dose of drag, ‘Ain’t No Mo’ will leave you crying with laughter - and thinking through the tears,” a description of the play reads.
The production opened on December 1, 2022 but faced closure just a week later. A social media campaign revived interest and kept it alive for a few more weeks before closing less than a month later on December 23, 2022. Still, the play was praised by viewers and despite its short run, Cooper remained proud of his work, speaking to the importance of supporting works by Black playwrights.
“It takes time, especially when you’re a Black show, to find your audience and especially when you’re leaning on traditional Broadway marketing which doesn’t necessarily market to Black folks. And, this is a play that was written specifically for Black folks. So, it is imperative right now that we really look into how we market these shows, and really look into where it goes. So people can know that they’re invited, and people can know that this is for them,” Cooper previously told BET.
Now the 2023 Tony Award nominations have been announced and Cooper’s “Ain’t No Mo” has racked up an impressive 6 Tony nominations including one for “Best New Play,” “Best Featured Actor in a Play,” and “Best Featured Actress in a Play.”
“I’m a Tony nominated actor & playwright. My God, My God. Thank you to my amazing cast & crew & producers, [Lee Daniels] and the incomparable [Stevie Walker Webb] and to the American Theater Wing for recognizing this piece of work. Thank you to [the] COMMUNITY who rallied and lifted this thing up even when [people] couldn’t see it’s worth. DON”T GIVE UP ON WHAT YOU BELIEVE TO BE SO,” wrote Cooper.
Cover photo: Jordan E. Cooper, youngest Black Broadway playwright, earns 6 Tony Award nominations/Photo Courtesy of Jordan E. Cooper/Instagram