artistic statement

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

whenever and wherever I enter...

My covenant to write is between both past and future: ancestor and child. Sometimes for the womxn before me, who have stories untold, and names erased.  I have a strong tie with them; they speak, I listen, and write it all down. I write to counter the forced silence and invisibility of Black womxn and girls. I have spent years of leading hundreds of Black girls through a rites of passage, where theatre and poetry are our blueprints. In this space, I am a nurturer to the next generation of writers and voices. I write as responsibility and privilege, both offering and obligation. I write as a means of intergenerational community healing. 

 

How I can write in a way that resists the idea that any of our experiences need assimilated translation for clear interpretation for the majority, is what keeps me up at night...writing. Consequently, my plays deal with culturally relevant and specific conversations and themes with deep dramaturgical insight. I've written and explored Black love in fluid iterations, the school to prison pipeline for girls, colorism, Xenophobia as well as spiritualism in my recent works. Enveloped, in my approach, is an interrogation of how to define character and plot outside of only oppressive constructs. I am focused on illuminating life inside our joys, pleasures, and magic. My work must be immediate, full of complexity, and yearning. So, I imagine characters and conflict by weaving contemporary contradictions with undeniable rhythm and edge. I create my characters bold, honest, and as multidimensional as possible. My characters range from the gender non-confirming teenage girl,  who is finding her identity while growing up in the Nation of Islam. To the 50-year-old former rapper turned professor, working to heal from the sexism she endured at the height of hip hop in the '90s to the Nigerian American lawyer raised by a single father, struggling with the hypocrisy of the justice system. How we become, why we are, and what we need to exist in our freedom are often premises in my writing. 

 

The aesthetic of my storytelling is inclusive of global Blackness visually, sonically, and in its movement. A hip hop pedagogy anchors my writing process, my form, and my voice. I am a practical applicant of tradition and also a passionate supplicant to the calling of future folklore, be it a remixed choreopoem turned an egungun bembe DJ’ed through rap, or telling the coming of age story of a womxn confronting her mental health. Or, retelling traditional Yoruba folklore to interrogate the normalized micro-aggressions faced by most womxn of color daily. I have initiated a fertile inquiry into the relationship between classic and contemporary storytelling. Each play is an aim to compassionately respond to how culture, folklore, technology, and live and breathe in a modern context.

cultural worker| playwright| director