A Short Preface: Kyle Jean-Baptiste died in an accident on August 28, 2015. He’d recently made history by being the first black actor to play the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables on Broadway. He was 21. I didn’t know him and I never saw him perform, but these are the thoughts I’ve had for the past two weeks. Forgive my clumsiness here.
I keep thinking about Kyle Jean-Baptiste.
I keep thinking about this man, a boy really, he was only 21. I keep thinking about my friends who had early success on Broadway and their overwhelming joy about it. I keep thinking about how two weeks ago he was probably celebrating the fact that he made history, and that he’d achieved this incredible milestone so early with the people he loved.
I keep thinking about how, now, those people are mourning him.
I keep thinking about how excited my mother and I were to go see this boy perform our very favorite music in the world. (We didn’t manage to make it, he’d ended his run already) I keep thinking about how that music is about hope and love and letting go of this world and it’s miseries to accept a greater glory and joy. I keep thinking how strange and awful it is, on a cosmic level, it is that his earthly glory was so fleeting.
I’m not dwelling on it. But a few times a day I remember that this boy who I never knew, but who’s voice I couldn’t wait to hear is now gone and my heart breaks a little.