On July 31, Watts will take to the stage of the Marlin Room at New York’s Webster Hall for “The Jam: Love Terrorists.” The show fuses Watts’ original spoken word, poetry and rap with elements of gospel, hip-hop, blues, reggae and salsa and serves as a “veritable call to arms, demanding any and all to terrorize with love.”
The 34-year-old North Carolina native, who is a member of the “Hamilton” ensemble, told The Huffington Post that he sees “The Jam” as “an opportunity to step beyond the turntable” of the Broadway juggernaut and into more personal territory. Watts will be backed by his band, the InnerView, throughout the show, which will also feature performances by cast members from the hit musicals “On Your Feet!” and “Shuffle Along.”
In regard to the show’s message, Watts told The Huffington Post, “We need more love and we need to hold each other accountable when we aren’t doing our part. We all have a common enemy, and it is hate and fear.”
Watch Watts and “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda pay tribute to Muhammad Ali below.
The actor-singer was so moved by the Orlando shooting, as well as other recent tragedies including the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, that he “decided we could all use a little love, including some tough love.” Hence, he is donating proceeds from the performance to advocacy groups Equality Florida and the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida.
Watts said he learned about the Pulse nightclub shooting as he and his “Hamilton” cast mates were preparing for their Tony Awards performance that same day. “It sounded so far-fetched and elaborate that, when I think back, I’m not positive I actually believed it initially,” he said. “I had to do my own research and I was shocked at what was revealed.”
As to what Watts would tell the friends and family members of the Orlando victims if he could speak to them directly, he said, “We love you. We are with you. We are you.”
Daniel J. Watts stars in “The Jam: Love Terrorists” at the Marlin Room at New York’s Webster Hall on July 31. Head here for more information.