EMMA AMMIRATI, Contributor
This semester, the college is offering a course titled, “Untangling ‘The Wire’: A Transformative Work.” The course is designed to analyze this TV show through theories of many different disciplines, including: English, history, political science, Spanish, theater, economics and philosophy. When Felicia “Snoop” Pearson heard Beloit was offering a course on “The Wire,” she agreed to visit and add her input to the analysis of the show. Today and tomorrow, the actress/author will be visiting Beloit College.
Pearson began playing “Snoop,” an assassin for Baltimore’s drug kingpin Marlo Stanfield, in season three. “The Wire,” created by David Simon, shows the double-sided nature of politics in Baltimore. What makes this show unique is that, while the backdrop is Baltimore, the politics on the street and in the courtroom can be applied to any major city in the United States. Unlike other cop shows, “The Wire” does not provide the viewer with quick solutions to the problems the actors present. Each season ends with a montage that shows how continuous corruption is in local politics. Each character is complicated—no one is just a “bad guy,” or a “good guy.” In the show, individuals society generally considers to be “bad,” such as drug dealers, turn out to have more morality than those who hold positions of power in politics.
Pearson was brought onto “The Wire” in 2004 when Michael Kay Williams, “Omar,” met her at a club. He was impressed by her attitude and, even though she had no previous acting experience, he set her up with audition. Other actors on “The Wire” such as Idris Elba, “Stringer Bell,” had to be trained in the culture and language of the streets of Baltimore. For Pearson, acting on “The Wire” was an opportunity for her to use her life experiences as the context for her character on the show. She grew up in the neighborhoods depicted in the show, so she did not have to study her character: Snoop’s life was her own.
Pearson’s book “Grace after Midnight” was published in 2007. This memoir is an example of what real life was like for her growing up. Troy Johnson interviewed Felicia Pearson for AALBC.com, and when he asked her why she chose to share her story she said, “[There’s] a lot of people that’s going through what I’ve been through. I just wanted to let them know I’m here. I’m here. Like if you ain’t gonna tell your story, or you don’t have an opportunity to tell your story, I’mma tell it for you. ”
Pearson will give a lecture titled “Beyond The Wire: A Conversation with Actor Felicia Pearson” in Moore Study Lounge tonight at 7:30 p.m. Tomorrow, from 4:30-5:30 p.m., she will be at Turtle Creek Bookstore, for a book signing of “Grace After Midnight.”