My covenant to write, is equally distributed between past and future. Ancestor and child. I create to counter forced silence and invisibility of Black Womxn and girls through healing. I write to cultivate my own ase’ and ase’ of my community’. I write as both responsibility and privilege; as both offering and obligation.
I have many names. I am named Goldie, after generations of women before me. I have a strong tie with the women who are ancestors, they speak, I listen and write it all down. These plays are theirs too. I am often Sister Goldie, having spent years leading hundreds of Black girls through a rites of passage program, where theatre and poetry are our blueprints, in this space I am nurturer to the next generation of Black Womxn voices. These plays are theirs too. For the times I am called Ifayosola, the ritual of writing is a reminder that this gift was earned when I left one life for the one I now live. That each thing I write, is a freedom song. A blessing, and must be handled with delicacy and great intention. To the Orisa that guide my gifts, these plays are theirs too.
I found a voice as both a poet and playwright. These voices do not bicker, they do not compete or war. They instead embrace and make a kind of love often, that has gifted me a stylized form and process to creating theatre. I write for the world, in the key of Black girl and womxn in a hip hop pedagogy; from, “Little Sally Walker” to Alice Walker. I compose story, in the style of a well-crafted hip hop mixtape ensuring that there is cohesive “hypeness” and musicality in the language. I imagine character and conflict by weaving contemporary contradictions with undeniable rhythm and edge, with the spirituality of an offering. The aesthetic of my storytelling is inclusive of the Black global experience visually, sonically, and in the movement and dance of the work. I aim to compassionately respond to how culture, folklore, technology and literacy live and breathe in contemporary context. I have initiated a fertile inquiry into the relationship between classic and contemporary storytelling and continue to work to take productive risks with form while developing a reputation for rigor and inclusivity.
In 2001, I met Keon T White. We were each other’s pushers. The agitator each other needed to write better, act more honestly and read more Baldwin. His work, was timely and poignant and his characters were complex and Black and Queer and new and familiar all at the same time. Keon died unexpectedly before our senior year at Howard University and before his first play was complete. Keon is with me as I create most work I am writing. Now an ancestor but, still demanding I write better, find honesty, and take bolder chances. I write to ensure the story gets told. These plays are his too.
For all the vital and idiosyncratic performance muscle that my writing excavates onstage, I value process and my commitment to extracting the most out of myself in the process and the most, from my fellow artists. As a collaborator and theatre-maker, I am anchored by my dramaturgical instincts. I am a practical applicant of tradition and also a passionate supplicant to the calling of future folklore; my work is immediate, full of contradictions and yearning, reflective of the un-teachable command of the moment on stage.
I write in the ritual of Black womxn; how we become, why we are, and what we need to exist in the rhythm of free. My writing is designed to resist the idea that our experience of both Black and feminine, needs assimilated translation in order for clear interpretation. My father's maternal Great Aunt Ada, has an abbreviated obituary; because she died unmarried and with no biological children. Her life story, is still a mystery to her living family. How could she be left undescribed, after having lived as long as she did? The answer to that, is that historically, Black Womxn are defined by the children they raise, men they love, and or their own successful adoption of white standards. My great aunt Ada being none of those things, has a story untold. She is with me when I write, every time I write. Begging for her name and names like hers to be said, and their stories discovered. These plays are hers too.
I am interested in braiding together traditional spiritual practices from the diaspora and investigate how they show up in contemporary youth culture. I am interested in continuing the work of highlighting the experiences of Black womxn and girls to expand the human narrative to better and more accurately include them. I believe when we see ourselves free, in books, on stage, in art, hear us in our song, then we move closer to believing and continuing to pursue that liberation.
Whenever and wherever I enter, I enter as Black, womxn, and artist, in that order. At my core and inside my soul is the work, the gift and responsibility to “tell the story”. I am made up of both the chorus of ancestors that will remind me my writing must be sacred. And the other company of my composition is made up of Black girls from years like, 2282, pleading with me to believe they exist; that their ancestors survived. These plays are theirs too.