The Rapidian

Ebony Road Players to host third Annual Loving Day Celebration

Ebony Road Players will be hosting a weekend of events to celebrate Loving Day, 50 years after the groundbreaking court case Loving vs. Virginia, and share the stories of West Michigan community members.

/Ebony Road Players

Events for Loving Day Celebration Weekend:

Friday, June 9 at 7:30PM, kick off your weekend with "Giving Voice to Love" at Ladies Literary Club (61 Sheldon SE). The event features local artists of music, dance, theater, film, and spoken word telling their stories of identity, race, love and expression 50 years after the groundbreaking court case.


Saturday, June 10 from 10AM to 4PM, head over to Park Church (10 E Park Pl) for a FREE community arts festival with food, vendors, workshops, children's activities and a stage with music. Rain or shine. Inside the church, there will be films viewings and a voice box to capture stories of our participants. The Mosaic Film Experience and Wrinkle Creative will provide event coverage throughout the day.


Sunday, June 11 at 11:45AM at Park Church, the celebration will conclude with a FREE showing of the HBO documentary, The Loving Story, co-sponsored with Conversations at Park Church, lunch will be served and discussion will follow the film. 

/Ebony Road Players

/Michelle Smith

Ebony Road Players is “a community performing arts and education company whose mission is to inspire, educate and engage the cultures of our community with high quality professional performances with a focus on the Black experience."

Edye Evans Hyde, Executive Director of Ebony Road Players shares that “Ebony Road Players started the 2015 Loving Celebration by commissioning its first theater production called Blackbird, a play written by Walter Lockwood. It was held at Wealthy Theatre. It has been celebrated internationally since 2004. It started in New York as a college project.”

The Loving Day Celebration weekend kicks off at the Ladies Literary Club with the event: Giving Voice to Love which will feature local artists of music, dance, theater, film, and spoken word telling their stories of identity, race, love and expression.

Evans Hyde is “excited about all of it” and “to share the story of Mildred and Richard Loving, share the stories of our multi-cultural neighbors and celebrate our loving inclusive community.” She shares, “there is a little something for everyone. The curated stage production on Friday at Ladies Literary Club will feature artists of every kind expressing their stories of race/ identity and love. Saturday is a day of fun for couple/ families and allies of racial harmony and inclusion. Mayor Bliss will be here at 12:30 to proclaim that June 12 is Grand Rapids Loving Day.”

Evans Hyde says that “Sunday will be a luncheon and a showing of the HBO documentary The Loving Story. A talkback session will take place to talk about the importance of the court case 50 years later.”

Ebony Road players will be performing scenes from One Simple Question by local playwright: Randy Wyatt during Friday's curated performances at the Ladies Literary Club. One Simple Question was first performed at the 2016 Loving Day as well as Cultura Collective during ArtPrize 8.

Evans Hyde shares that the “stories are so honest and the reaction has been that of disbelief that these women in this day and age have gone through so much. More than one audience member has cried. But the conversations have been great. The goal is to have that conversation about history and experiences. So in the end we hope that people can take a moment to understand each other.”

Close to 50 years after interracial marriages became legal across the U.S., the share of newlyweds married to a spouse of a different race or ethnicity has increased more than five times — from 3 percent in 1967, to 17 percent in 2015, according to a new report by the Pew Research Center.

I'm especially excited to join together to celebrate Loving Day as my parents are an interracial couple, my mother is Hispanic and my father white, and I wouldn't be here without the Loving vs. Virginia case. With a full weekend of events, there is something for everyone as well as an opportunity to listen to fellow community members experiences and celebrate love. 

Ebony Road Players is still looking for volunteers for the event this weekend, all volunteers will receive an Ebony Road Theatre t-shirt. If you can’t volunteer this weekend but want to get involved, volunteering for their show in October: Detroit 67 by Dominique Morisseau. To find out more go to

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