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"An African proverb says:
As long as the hunter records history, the lion’s story will never be told."
I stand for that lion. I use my voice to write our stories, our truths unapologetically, with courage, hope and love on THE STAGE. The richness of my people which is anchored by their faith in God, their hope for the future, and their commitment to one another creates a connection deeper than their numerous shades of brown, various hair textures, broken dialect, socioeconomic status, or DNA.
It is in this community, this village, where my stories are born. Birthed by those midwives and mid-husbands teaching the soul skills that we have transitioned into strategic survival techniques for our families, communities, and race.
My stories are about these people. Staged performances of the awareness play ‘5 Women of Color’ which demonstrates the various forms that domestic abuse often takes before physical violence is manifested and how it has permeated our families and communities. No Ordinary Days that focus on the impact of mental illness on our communities. Plays that address the various stands we take on the Black Lives Matter issue like ‘Don’t Call Me Brother! as we continue the war for social justice on all levels or ‘This Woman’s Worth where a brave stand is taken on the #MeToo Movement.
Ours is a multi-generational community. Stories about a people with familiar faces and similar experiences, whose joys and pains, trials and triumphs continue to braid their lives together.
It is deeply rooted in the collective histories of the African American communities whose stories often go untold, their contributions unrecognized, and their lives not valued. I tell of the resilience of our deeply rooted culture, from the ticketless ‘voyages’ from the West Coast of Africa to the auction blocks of Savannah and beyond, that inhumane bondage called slavery. Honoring the legacy of this resilient African American community, as a Black woman and as a Black artist, I create stories that are performed, and in some ways preserved to document our past and to enlighten current and future generations about our invaluable contributions to the world.
So, when I think about artist statements, I think of Why do I do what I do? I trace it directly to my memories of discussions at the dinner table, where it was understood that nothing was to be repeated. Sitting on the porch steps eavesdropping on grown folks conversations, debates, and observations about the plight of the Negro. People watching at neighborhood gatherings of births, homegoings and other events that provided a lot of everything...that included food, support, love, and of course…gossip. Spirited-filled church services where religion and activism inextricably flowed into most of our community, whether you marched, signed petitions, voted, babysat, or sold chicken dinners, just about everyone found their road to activism
There is no simple way to define this place. However, my memories, my life lessons, experiences, and my stories can never be relegated to a demographic or geographic location or painted numbers on a mailbox.
My passion and my purpose is to shine a light on the strength, determination, and resilience that our ancestors instilled in us as a people. We must pass these survival traits from soul to soul, spirit to spirit and heart to heart, from generation to generation.
Knowing that the success of my journey can’t be accomplished alone, I collaborate with social and community institutions like the SAFE (domestic violence awareness), Black Art Matters ATX , National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI), and Manor Independent School District’s Family Services and Support division.