Part 1: A Difference in Perspective
Part 2: The Story of CopOut
KEVIN JONES: Cop Out is a series of monologues written by, for, and with police officers— real life stories. We had toured a show called Hands Up, a 90-minute show telling the stories of African-Americans and their experience with police profiling.
SHEPSU AAKHU: We wanted to give an opportunity to try to balance that equation so that we could create a dialogue. So what does it look like for police officers?
KEVIN JONES: We brought in nine writers to work on the scripts, along with professional actors and directors .
SHEPSU AAKHU: Let’s read everything, let’s figure out what we have, let’s figure out if what we have works, then let’s figure out why it works. And then let’s figure out how we can make it better.
SHEPSU AAKHU: If you look at the idea of the play, what you’re really looking at is passion. And those passions, they’re nested in point of view : Who am I? How do I see the world? And most of us are terribly resistant to the notion that there’s more than one way to look at something.
KEVIN JONES: The thing that’s really struck me is the general public’s reaction to the work that we’re doing—A lot of people feel that we shouldn’t be doing it …
SHEPSU AAKHU: So my job is to figure out how to put together all of these different writers and arrange them in a way that gives us a window into the lives of these officers in a way that allows us to lower our barriers enough just to hear them, so that we can get this work done.
KEVIN JONES: As an African-American, for me, telling the stories of police officers is a personal venture for me — I want to heal, I want to hear the truth as opposed to the stories that I had running in my head.
SHEPSU AAKHU: Communication is everything. The moment we’re not communicating is the moment that things escalate and danger continues. Literally, as a Black person in America, that is the last thing I want to happen. What I really hope for is that there’s engagement, that people that are listening actually care enough to lean in, and that in that we can make a commitment to keep talking.
KEVIN JONES: This is an opportunity for me—and I do believe for the rest of us—to heal and move on and start to have a different kind of conversation. I think we have a great show.
Part 3: The Show
Cop Out: Beyond Black, White & Blue
Directed by Kevin Jones
Co-directed by Damaris Webb and Phil Johnson
Part 4: What's Next?
I want to…
Learn more about Cop Out and the issues that drive it.