I pray that the above video has empowered you in the same way that it empowered me when I wrote it! The video that you just watched is the official NBA Detroit Pistons video honoring women everywhere for International Women's Month 2018. What a blessing that they decided to call on ME to write and deliver such a powerful message! This past Monday, I had the privilege to receive tickets to the Pistons vs. Lakers game (which we won by the way, 112-106). As my family, friends and I watched on, it was thrilling to know that we were not just there for the game, we were there to see this video play out on the jumbotron in front of the entire Little Caesar's Arena! I can't express the excitement, nervousness, anticipation, joy, and honor that I felt when I saw my face magnified 100x and heard my voice in synch along with it. I'm not sure if this is what it feels like to "make it", but I can certainly say that I am BLESSED!
I have to keep this blog relatively short because even as I write, I am just a few hours away from the opening of "HAIR'itage", the off-Broadway production that I'm in! It is certainly going to be the icing on the cake that is International Women's Month. Written by an African-American woman, Niccole Nero Gaines, and performed by an all black/female cast, I am proud to take part in such a production. "HAIR'itage" is all about the journey of black women with their hair - the struggles and triumphs we've faced dating all the way back to slavery.
All of the women in the cast portray multiple different characters that all hinge on six specific different hair types: Loc Sistah, Braided Sistah, Good Hair Sistah, Straight Hair Sistah, Afro Sistah, and Colored Weave Sistah. I will be playing the sassy and revolutionary role of the Afro Sistah, so come out and support me because there is still time! Tickets and more of the play information can be found at www.hairitagetheplay.com
TODAY (March 30, 2018): 8pm at the Jazz Cafe in the Music Hall (Detroit)
TOMORROW (March 31, 2018): 2pm and 7pm in McCree Theatre (Flint)
April 6, 2018: 8pm at the Jazz Cafe in the Music Hall (Detroit)
I have been fortunate enough to keep productive with my gifts this month through a few different projects and performances. Outside of the opportunity with the Detroit Pistons and the opening of my play, March is also Finer Womanhood Month where the women of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. observe the fourth ideal of finer womanhood that is unique to our sorority. My graduate chapter, Zeta Nu Zeta Chapter of Inkster, annually hosts a large event within the month of March, and this year it was an awards banquet called HouZe of BluZ. Not only did I get the privilege of reciting my own poetry to open up the event, but we awarded and recognized deserving women within the community, had an outstanding blues band, and the food was nothing to scoff at either. For my very first finer womanhood banquet, the bar has certainly been set high for next year!
I also had the opportunity to take my writing talents to Washtenaw Community College as part of their programming for Women's History Month! The Dean of the college heard about the impact of my work within the community and was gracious to invite me to speak!
With this small intimate crowd, I was able to speak about my experiences not only as a woman, but also touch on the intersectionality of being a woman of color and what that means to me. I was grateful for the freedom to speak in a space that was not only understanding and accepting of my expression through the arts, but also as a source of creative expression itself. Throughout the program, my time of speaking and sharing was interspersed with current students that were part of a poetry class, and they were able to speak their truth as well. Read this write up on the event and an interview that a student captured with me at the close of the program!
I ended the program with a reading of Maya Angelou's poem, "Phenomenal Woman", because, for one, is it really a poetry reading for women if Maya Angelou isn't credited at least once?; and for two, that poem encapsulates all that I've felt within this month! God has taken me to new places that I've never been before...like a jumbotron! I have not always felt empowered within my identity as a woman and oftentimes I'd find my strength from other qualities I posses and feel strong almost in spite of being a woman. To see God flip that on its head and hand me opportunities that I otherwise would not have been granted if I was not a woman, is overwhelmingly beautiful. As I said in my poem, "This is our month. Every month is our month. Every year is our year. Now is our time, and WE. ARE. HERE!"