Muhammad Ali was a great boxer, but his legacy is not just extraordinary athletic prowess in his chosen sport.
The man was an icon, a lightning rod of moral courage and integrity reflecting the times of great change that he irrevocably played a part in.
Ali is not mentioned much in the production ‘Since Ali Died’ by poet Omar Musa despite the title but touchingly his legacy is ever-present. Rapper and spoken word poet Omar – in his show and in life – proves himself outspoken, fearless and charismatic just like his hero.
Having grown up in Queanbeyan a Muslim boy with dark skin, Omar needed heroes and he found one in the legendary sportsman and in others which he talks and raps about. To think that Omar holds your attention for well over an hour with mostly just his own presence on a minimally-lit stage and some background music shows clearly the talent he has to move and involve his audience.
The crowd on the night started out fairly demure but he was quick with a joke and had everyone bobbing their heads to the beat and nodding their heads to the truths he invoked.
The piece is a delicate balancing act of reflecting on a tough past and a brave new world, provoking thought and keeping it light but, just like Ali, not pulling any punches. Omar proves a master storyteller, perfectly maintaining this balance and bringing us full circle with the themes of his show and the interweaving stories of the people in his life.
It will make you think about your own life, the people in it and what kind of world you want to be a part of. Omar Musa is one to watch.
‘Since Ali Died’ plays The Loft, Theatre Republic until 14 September.