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Different Standards?

September 03, 1989

Greg Braxton's Aug. 20 article on Shelly Garrett's play "Beauty Shop" quotes Times critic Sylvie Drake as writing: "By the usual . . . standards 'Beauty Shop' is a sentimental, poorly structured, badly directed, self-congratulating show. But where is it written that those standards fit?"

These comment and the tone of Braxton's article perpetuate a tiresome misconception. Some of us are tired of the lowest common denominator of black taste being equated with black taste, period.

The music industry similarly insists on using the term black music only to describe what is played on AM radio--as if Duke Ellington or Charles Mingus had never existed.

"Beauty Shop" certainly has the right to exist, but spare us the inane suggestion that the type of theater it represents is somehow more ethnically authentic than serious plays such as those of Charles Fuller, August Wilson or Ron Milner.

ROBERT RUFFIN

La Jolla

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