May 10, 1981 |
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
|Occupation||Playwright, journalist, actress|
|Alma mater||Columbia University
We expect our leaders to be godlike. But I feel that when people try to sanctify leadership, it puts it out of the realm of regular people. And that's where the greatest leaders come from – from the people.
Follow your intuition, listening to your dreams, your inner voice to guide you.
Most of the time, when I'm writing, I'm writing for myself. I'm thinking, 'What will my character say at this time? What will come out of her mouth?' I create individuals so real to me, I sometimes start talking to them. Then I let them loose on the page.
Cultivating relationships with people who've achieved what you want to achieve makes the path fuller and more fun.
I never, ever read the comments below an article on the Web. People are mean. I'm a human being.
I always felt like Broadway was not for me – in terms of ticket price, in terms of what was on there. I never saw myself reflected in the mirror of the Great White Way.
I think being an actor makes me a better writer and vice versa. I know the kinds of roles I would kill to play, and I try to create them for others.
In order to be great, you just have to care. You have to care about your world, community, and equality.
Like most playwrights, I hate talkbacks with a passion that can burn a hole through hell.
Theatre is an exclusive place that tends to be dominated by white men, or dying white men.
I feel the feminist movement has excluded black women. You cannot talk about being black and a woman within traditional feminist dialogue.
As a black woman who grows up in a predominantly white neighborhood, you learn how to perform a 'good' version of yourself. And then when you're with your home girls, you're saying all kinds of stuff that sounds all kinds of crazy, but you understand each other because you're speaking the way that you're comfortable with.
Unlike films, which can be easily disseminated worldwide via DVDs and the Internet, plays struggle to find an international audience.
'Hurt Village' is based on a real housing project in Memphis, about three minutes away from the Lorraine Hotel where Dr. King was assassinated, so in my work I'm focusing on a very specific area in Memphis. I see 'Hurt Village' as a natural extension of 'The Mountaintop.'
Many theaters are tackling the multifaceted work of black writers – established and emerging. Now the next step is for them to bring in audiences of color and continue to go out to our community and create a continuous connection that extends beyond the one black show in the season.
Through school, I saw plenty of theatre my parents weren't necessarily up on. They would prefer a football game to watching 'The Nutcracker,' and that's fine. I enjoy both.
I feel a responsibility to continue creating complex roles for black women, especially young black women.
I can only speak for myself, but when I was growing up in Memphis – and having the Martin Luther King holiday and the moment of pause on April 4th – he was just a statue to me. I wanted to make him a little bit more real to me as a human being.
I grew up playing with kids from Hurt Village, playing with kids from other housing projects, Lamar Terrace, because my grandmother lived in that particular area. So, I always wondered how I would have turned out if I would have lived in that particular given circumstance.
Playwrights are the most gregarious writers – to get our work done, we need actors, directors, set designers.
I always crave to see more stories about and by people of color, particularly new work by young black writers.
I started writing because I got so frustrated that there weren't enough plays that had roles for young black women in them.
Don't let others put thoughts into your mind that takes away your self-confidence.
I'm very Southern in the way I walk in the world. I love to laugh. I love to eat. I love to hug people. But if somebody makes me mad, my neck may roll. I can be aggressive with a Southern twang.
It is expensive to give plays subtitles, especially for a short run, so most new dramas rarely cross the transcontinental bridge.
I used to think people above me might get jealous because I wanted to do what they did. But no, people are much nicer than that.