Ian Ellis James


Teacher Ian Ellis James

William Electric Black, aka Ian Ellis James, is a seven-time Emmy Award winning writer for his work on "Sesame Street" between 1992 and 2002. He also wrote for Nickelodeon's "Allegra’s Window" and Lancit Media’s "Backyard Safari." His children’s television show - “Rap-U-Cation” was just optioned by FarView Entertainment. Presently, he is head writer and executive producer on “Dragon Clouds”. In a series of multimedia projects with Doug E. Fresh, Chuck D, and Artie Green, he has campaigned for exercise and good nutrition for young children, prescription drug awareness and obesity prevention. Recent awards include: La MaMa Regional Theater Tony Award, 2018. NY State Assembly Citation - Charles D. Lavine, Member of Assembly, 2018. He has received a Bronze Apple (National Educational Video Award) for directing. He has also received several Best Play Awards and has been published by Benchmark Education, The Dramatic Publishing Co. and Smith & Krauss. He is a faculty member at NYU’s Tisch School (Dept. of Dramatic Writing and NYU’s Summer High School Program). He has also taught at The Collegiate School, The Riverdale Country Day School, Southern Illinois University, 92nd Street Y, Teachers & Writers and TheatreWorks USA. Black's record with "activist" plays is admirable. In 2009, he directed Theater for the New City's sensational and serious "Lonely Soldier Monologues: Women at War in Iraq," a staged series of monologues based on a book by Helen Benedict. The play earned widespread notice and significantly helped the issues of America's female soldiers to be widely recognized for the first time. Black launched his GUNPLAYS series at TNC with "WelcomeHome Sonny T," a play that spotlighted two significant forces driving the current epidemic of gun violence: the social impact of alienation and unemployment on young black males and the declining influence of black ministers as a force of stability in affected neighborhoods. The 5 play series (Gunplays: Five Plays on Inner City Violence and Guns) will be published this year 2022-2023 by Applause Books. He is also the author of a series of Pre-K, early reader books re: gun violence awareness - A GUN IS NOT FUN. PS 155 in East Harlem, New York, will launch an in-school gun violence awareness and prevention program based upon his early readers to combat gun violence. (see www.Gunplays.org for his plays and children's books on gun violence awareness).