The power of redemption: Black Men’s Coalition of Dane County to hold production of “The Kernel of Truth”


    A story emphasizing the power of redemption and the realities of life behind bars will be held at the Overture Center for the Arts as the Black Men’s Coalition of Dane County will hold a production for “The Kernel of Truth.”

    On Saturday, June 15, “The Kernal of Truth” will give an immersive story of the lives of a group of male inmates. Led by the Black Men Coalition of Dane County, the play will delve into the complexities of life behind bars and after as an introspective journey towards redemption. The production aims to address and educate on the realities of incarcerated life.

    “I hear so many people I meet say, ‘I didn’t know this was happening,’ and ‘I wish I was more educated on these types of things.’ Well here’s the opportunity,” Corey Marionneaux, founder and CEO of the Black Men Coalition of Dane County, tells Madison365. “We just want to be able to show that people are not a throwaway. People need a second chance.”

    Corey Marionneaux

    Marionneaux wants the message of the “Kernel of Truth” to be clear. He hopes to show communities to not be blind towards the struggles inmates are currently facing or have faced. The cast in the production includes some who have experience in jail and overcoming obstacles towards redemption.

    The cast of “The Kernel of Truth” includes Jamal Woods, who played Biggie Smalls in the 2009 biopic “Notorious;” Jeremy Meeks, who became a fashion model after a picture of his mugshot went viral; Brian J. White, who has appeared in movies such as “The Family Stone;” James Hyde, known for starring in the soap opera “Passions” and Mexican drama “Monarca;” Nicole Marie Johnson, who starred in “The Summer I Turned Pretty;” Ryan Francis, known for appearing in the 90s drama “Sisters,” Chicago comedian Timothy Wilson; and Black Men Coalition’s Marionneaux.

    Young adults are encouraged to attend in an attempt to highlight the systematic failures that plague Black and low-income youth.

    “They’re not seeing a lot of doctors and a lot of stockbrokers and a lot of lawyers and a lot of businessmen in their community — in our community,” Marionneaux said. “We’re seeing a lot of drug dealers and nice cars and things of that nature; it is not so positive in our community. Sometimes we feel like we choose that option because that’s the option we see day to day.”

    Marionneaux draws on his own experience of someone who has been incarcerated. His story, and the story of “Kernel of Truth,” will serve as a cautionary tale for youth in attendance — but also a light of hope.

    “We just want to point some of that out and show what we’re doing as an organization, led by a person who has done multiple years in prison, who has no college degree, but was given the opportunity and was supported by some people who believe in the work we’re doing, and the outcome of that,” Marionneaux said.

    “The Kernel of Truth” will come to the Overture Center on Saturday, June 15 with two showings at 2 and 7 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale.