“I can so relate!”
“I felt that way, too!”
“I thought I was the only one!”
As I sat in the Coffee Chats conducted on Zoom by Horizon Theatre Company, I absorbed the conversations of Black women from all over the country talk about their lives growing up. It resonated with me. Here we are, a plethora of experiences, bonding together. We were all different and yet very similar. It was nice to be in a “room” and feel comradery, to see yourself in others and not be the outsider. I felt welcomed.
Let’s rewind. It’s early spring of 2021. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, I had not written in about a year, and I had no inspiration. I mean, we were all just trying to get through a lockdown. Then, I get an email from Marguerite Hannah, Associate Artistic Producer at Horizon. She was starting a project entitled Black Women Speak.
Horizon Theatre Company announces the launch of the nationally recognized New Georgia Woman Project: Black Women Speak (BWS) program to develop plays that will amplify the voices of African American women. BWS is a groundbreaking initiative to create works of and by Black women and for all, inspired by conversations with real Black women of Georgia.
I lit up! I read the email and thought, “This is amazing! And inspiring!” I called her up and said, “I’m in!” As a Black woman playwright, the opportunities to authentically be me through my writing and have it showcased at all or widely seemed sparse. Yet, I wasn’t alone in this feeling. There were so many Black women who felt like they didn’t see their work, or themselves, on stage authentically. I want to tell their stories and provide that lens.
To be selected as part of the Emerging Playwrights Collective is an honor and a responsibility. I hope that I can take everything that I have heard, experienced, and learned, and produce something that shows how we are all interwoven and yet uniquely different. I’m grateful to Marguerite Hannah for being the visionary. I am thankful to Horizon Theatre Company for allowing her and the playwrights the opportunity to be a part of something that will have a national monumental impact. This vision will birth nine stories by Black women about Black women… amplifying our voices, expanding our work, and increasing our stamp in American theatre. How astounding to be given such a charge.