Suzanne Ruta
April 08, 1994 AT 04:00 AM EDT

American Dreams

type
TV Show
Current Status
In Season
run date
09/29/02
performer
Will Estes, Gail O'Grady, Sarah Ramos, Brittany Snow, Tom Verica, Jonathan Adams, Joey Lawrence, Vanessa Lengies, Virginia Madsen, Milo Ventimiglia
guest performer
Ashanti, Wayne Brady, Michelle Branch, Vanessa Carlton, Nick Carter, Kelly Clarkson, Vivian Green, India.Arie, LeAnn Rimes, Duncan Sheik, Usher
Producer
Dick Clark
broadcaster
NBC
genre
Drama

We gave it an A

African-American poet and performer Sapphire packs in audiences at readings on both coasts. American Dreams shows why: She’s a survivor — gritty, honest, angry, tender, funny, raw, immediate, and artful. She transforms the autopsy report of a brother murdered in L.A. into a shattering elegy. She celebrates a dancer who leaped to her death from a 14th-floor window — ”Arisa/who never wore/the rubber gloves/of defeat.” She gets inside the heads of the group of boys who went ”wilding” in New York’s Central Park, imagining their desolation: ”Special Education classes/eat up my brain/like last week’s greens/rotting in plastic containers.” She knows more than the rap stars, more than the sociologists, about the inner city. She knows how people talk: Abused children, prostitutes, tired domestic workers, white bigots, lesbians in love. She does their voices in a way that breaks your heart. A

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