This is the life story of Jelani Stewart. Ten years ago, in the wake of the Rodney King verdicts, American society ruptured in South Central Los Angeles, resulting in the worst riots in our nation’s modern history. Ten years later, the people are still poor, there’s not enough work, and the gang violence is bad and getting worse. One other thing hasn’t changed in South Central: Little boys still grow up there. This is the story of South Central since the riots. who came into this world as his city burned.
The black circus is dark and smoky and magic. And it is loud and it is black. The ringleader, Casual Cal, is black, and he’s got a black midget sidekick, and the trapeze artist is black and the guy on stilts is black and the guy who vaults thirty feet high and flips and lands on a tiny chair perched in the air is black and the magician is black and the showgirl he makes vanish and who reappears in the tiger cage is black. The audience is black, too, and at the moment, to a person, all two thousand are going completely nuts, especially Jelani Stewart, who is not quite ten years old.