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Daniel J. Watts, @BroadwayGirlNYC & More Round Out 2015 TEDxBroadway Lineup

On Feb 23, 2015 TEDxBroadway held it's 4th annual conference. Housed at New World Stages, TEDxBroadway 2015 brought together individuals from various professions and walks of life including a critically acclaimed songwriting team, digital media experts, and entrepreneurial geniuses in an effort to find out "What's the best Broadway can be?".


 Pointing out works like the musicals Rent and Hair, Watts applauded "Broadway" for serving as an activist through storytelling. However, fearing that some this awarness-raising work can be labeled simply as "entertainment",  Watts encouraged the Broadway community, as a whole, to be a voice for the voiceless not only on stage, but off stage as well. Such work has proven effective as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has raised over $250 million since 1992 and continuing to be a voice for the people affected by the disease.



















TEDxBroadway co-founders Jim McCarthy (CEO and co-founder of and Damian Bazadona (founder of Situation Interactive) asked Watts not only to be a speaker for the event, but also to serve as it's house band leader.  The house band (officially dubbed InnerView) included Taharqa (guitar), Voltaire Wade-Greene (bass), DeWitt Fleming, Jr. (drums), and Ephraim Sykes (cajon) and played several original tunes infusing rock, blues, funk, and hip-hop.

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In light of recent events including Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice,  Hip-hop artist/songwriter/producer Ronvé collaborated with Daniel J. Watts and Amber Iman on a musical project entitled Black is Beautiful. The song (featuring two stimulating verses by Ronvé, a heartful hook sung by Iman, and a powerful spoken word ending by Watts) seeks to promote self-love and empowerment amongst the African-American community during a difficult and eye-opening time in our country. 




Let's discuss this.

Put it to rest because


needs to get off our chest.


Let our mouths be our muskets.

Words, the bullets not to be fussed with.

This is how we shoot back.


With this assembly, we aspire

to provoke

not riot, but conversation. This congregation

has come together to express

its descent of police matters.


in exercising our right

to be heard,

the only proper police protocol is to use

excessive force, forceful words.


Because some of your actions have suggested that


is out of the question.

And that causes me to question,

"How can you question your suspects once they lay dead at your hands.




How do you release preemptive news bulletins once you've

unwarrantedly released

one or two bullets in a

young man's chest?" It's suspect,


how quickly your suspects turn to victims.

Routine arrests are looking more and more


modern day lynchings, and I understand that it's a

slippery slope.

It's your job to bear arms,

but not to wrap your bare arms around throats

like rope,

like boa constrictors.


"I can't breath!", being


in a whisper. So,

for those of you who wear the blue,

let's get this clear.


I fear that until the injustice stops,

red, white, and blue

will go down in history represented by the blood unjustly stained on the uniforms of



We've got to stop with the speech blocks.


Let's discuss this.

Put it to rest because


needs to get off our chests.


Let our mouths be our muskets.

Words, the bullets, not to be fussed with.

This is how we shoot back.

This is how we shoot back.

This is how we shoot back.

This is how we shoot back.


© Daniel J. Watts


This piece was created in conjunction with WalkRunFly Productions. Visit them at



In the wake of the events in Ferguson, MO, performers Daniel J. Watts (Motown, After Midnight, In the Heights) and Nik Walker (Motown, Peter and the Starcatcher) in conjunction with WattsWords Productions, will be stage a Broadway-­‐wide demonstration Friday, November 28th, in the hopes of opening a dialogue between artists on the topic of social justice. Members of the Broadway companies of Motown, Wicked, Jersey Boys, Beautiful, Side Show, A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, Cinderella, If/Then, The Lion King, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Hamilton, The Book of Mormon, Aladdin, Chicago, Honeymoon in Vegas, Kinky Boots, and others were in attendance.


“As artists, it’s very easy to blind ourselves to the issues plaguing our world today,” said Watts, a 7‐show Broadway veteran. “This meeting won’t be to take a side in the Ferguson case”, adds Walker, “we just want to promote a respectful and productive conversation, so that events like this are never forgotten...and always learned from.” The demonstration took place on 46th St and Broadway at 6:15pm where the group harmonized vocals while reciting an original poem, “No More Silences” (linked here), written and lead by Watts. The demonstration began with a summarizing statement read by Walker:

"In light of recent events, we, the Broadway community have gathered to take a stand. We do not pretend to represent one ideology, nor do we assume to have answers to the problems that are plaguing our nation. What we are demanding is an open dialogue, between actors and producers, stagehands and directors, writers and costume designers and the rest- a dialogue on the social injustices of our country.


Whatever your stance on Ferguson, what was made undeniably clear this Monday was the rift in our abilities to communicate objectively, to plan and progress strategically. Too often as artists, we blind ourselves to the issues at hand. Today, that stops. Today, we pledge our commitment to respectfully and productively engage each other on the topics of race, sexuality, religion, oppression and the like. And if those of us working on this little strip can manage that, perhaps we can serve as a microcosm, an example that such cooperation can work on a larger scale.


We thank you for your time. We pray you never forget. Blessings and love."

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