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Fair Housing Center presents "Not a Genuine Black Man"

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

"Not a Genuine Black Man" is a powerful personal account that touches on several issues including the devastating impact of housing discrimination and racism.
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Tickets for "Not A Genuine Black Man," Sept. 13, 2012 at St. Cecilia Music Center

Community Media Center (CMC) is proud to partner with Fair Housing Center of West Michigan, providing ticketing services for this benefit event at St. Cecilia Music Center, 24 Ransom Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

Tickets for this event at St. Cecilia can be purchased via CMC nonprofit ticketing services by clicking here.

Tickets can be purchased quickly and easily online, or by calling or visiting Wealthy Theatre btw. 2-7pm weekdays. The Wealthy Theatre box office (ticketing provider for this St. Cecilia event) is located at 1130 Wealthy SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506. The box office phone number is (616) 459-4788 x131.

Please note the issues presented in this performance are geared for an adult audience. 

See for more details or call (616) 451-2980.

The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan (FHCWM) is excited to present "Not a Genuine Black Man" on Thursday, September 13 at St. Cecilia's Music Center (24 Ransom NE), featuring author and comedian Brian Copeland. In a monologue both funny and poignant, Copeland explores how our surroundings help make us who we are as he shares his story about diversity and identity. He is an extremely gifted performer who will indulge the audience in an evening of laughter, tears and sociology.

"Not a Genuine Black Man" highlights an important time in our nation’s history and the impact it can have on us all to this day. In 1971, the city of San Leandro was named one of the most racist suburbs in America. Congressional hearings were held. The very next year, eight-year-old Brian and his African-American family moved to San Leandro where they were met with suspicion, intimidation and racial intolerance. This culminated in the family experiencing illegal housing discrimination by their landlord, who engaged in a campaign of harassment and attempted eviction of the family based on their race. Though now a successful comedian and radio host, Copeland spent years trying to leave the painful experiences of his childhood behind. When an anonymous letter writer accused him of not being a genuine black man, it forced Copeland to face his experiences as an outsider and reclaim his identity. 

The FHCWM is hosting this performance as part of its 5th Annual Members & Friends of Fair Housing Event. One of the most common requests the FHCWM receives from the community and those in the housing industry is for personal stories and testimonials about housing discrimination.  Copeland bravely shares his family's experiences in his memoir and boldly on stage, creating a truly unique opportunity for West Michigan to further understand the devastating impact of housing discrimination. The San Francisco Chronicle called "Not a Genuine Black Man," a "beautiful mix of wry humor and heartbreak, indignation and inspiration, a singular story of extreme isolation that speaks to anyone who has ever felt out of place."

Copeland is a multitalented comedian, writer, television host, talk radio host and commentator. His incisive, cutting-edge standup comedy material uses humor and wit to cut to the heart of serious social and political problems. This unique approach has earned him spots as the opening act for a diverse array of entertainers such as Ray Charles, Donna Summer, Ringo Starr, Dana Carvey, Rick Springfield, Lionel Richie, Patti LaBelle, Etta James, The Righteous Brothers, The Temptations, and the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Hear more from Mr. Copeland about his story and his one-man show in this brief interview clip.                                                                                          

Being able to choose where you live free from discrimination is a fundamental right. The Fair Housing Center of West Michigan hopes this event will help attendees better understand the impact of housing discrimination. Please note the issues presented in this performance are geared for an adult audience. 

The performance will begin at 7:00 pm at St. Cecilia’s Music Center on September 13th; doors will open at 6:00 pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to purchase a copy of Copeland's memoir of the same name, "Not a Genuine Black Man: My Life as an Outsider." The cost to attend is $25 per person and includes the opportunity to become a member of the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan. Tickets are available for purchase through our partner, the Wealthy Theatre. Visit or the Wealthy Theatre box office (1130 Wealthy SE) to purchase tickets.

Additional information can be found on our website,, or by calling our office at 616-451-2980. We hope you will join us for this special event!

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