This is a subscriber-only edition of Humans Being, a newsletter that unearths deeper meanings in pop culture.

This week, I went to see A Strange Loop, which won the 2022 Tony Award for Best Musical, on Broadway. It’s a Black queer musical about a Black queer musical about a Black queer musical (and so on). Its title comes from  the strange-loop theory of human consciousness, and its story follows a man navigating his sense of self while being influenced by six characters who represent his inner thoughts.

I loved A Strange Loop. It is challenging and heartfelt. It lambastes Tyler Perry and critiques homophobia in the Black Christian church. Its commentary on racism is the kind that makes white people uncomfortable. I’m surprised it was even allowed to exist on Broadway at all. A Strange Loop provoked my favorite emotional response to art: I felt sad—almost angry—that I could never make something as good, but I was inspired to try.

To read the rest, subscribe to The Atlantic.

Already a subscriber? Sign in