The Harlem Renaissance is here again

The first of two interviews with the cast of Harlem Hellfighters Never Die

The Harlem Renaissance is here again
Credit: Queen's Court Games
This is the first of a two part interview. Read Part 2, Balancing Black Joy In Creating Black Horror, here.

Last March, Queen’s Court Games released their Lovecraftian horror actual play series Harlem Hellfighters Never Die. Set during the Harlem Renaissance, the series centers around residents of the New York City borough in the wake of World War I. 

When the characters attend a community-organized “Welcome Home” party for the all-Black regiment, the Harlem Hellfighters, they discover that the war has changed them on a supernatural level. Police disrupt the party meant to honor the returning soldiers, arresting people indiscriminately, while legacy newspapers weave a false narrative to justify the cops’ behavior. Their biggest threat is not the war overseas, or its Lovecraftian fallout, but the war at home, against the institutions meant to serve and protect. 

Led by Keeper Noir Enigma, and joined by powerhouse performers Laura Tutu, Christian McKinzie, Robert Madison II and Jas Brown, Harlem Hellfighters Never Die is a beautiful exploration of the joy community can provide in the face of seemingly insurmountable evil. Even more, it’s a damn good actual play.

"After you deal with that horror, you've got two choices. You can try to go back to pretending that these terrible things don't exist, or you can dig down and try to fight it. And that's what this game is."

As an edited, remotely-recorded AP, Harlem Hellfighters expertly synthesizes every element of production to work towards a single unified thematic statement. The visual background overlay of the series sets the stage for our performers, using the 1920s art deco cover of Spivey’s supplement. The soundtrack is a soothing jazz, providing the tense comfort of a backroom speakeasy that’s about to be raided at any moment. 

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