The Innovator- Notzake Shange
Ntozake Shange....the name alone is iconic! If you are a actress from the African Diaspora there is no way you haven’t heard or said her name at least once. “ for colored girls..” no need to say anymore because for women of the African Diaspora there is no playwright more important. She defined the Black aesthetic in theatre. She gave a space where our stories shined, our heartache & joy were celebrated. Her words help to give Voice to the toxic misogyny which existed in our community but for fear of “airing our dirty laundry “ were too fearful to share. Ntozake life while amazing was not easy, she was the first and as a result endured the brunt of what it means to break that ceiling. This was before “#blackgirlmagic” and many of the women of that production suffered great disillusionment after the glory ended. Ntozake continued to create, to define a new language that inspired new forms of creativity while simultaneously moving through the uncertainty that sudden fame brings. Her prose allowed me and many others a structural liberty in our expression. Ntozake gave birth to the first black woman to win a Tony for best featured actress in a play, for a black man to win Drama Critics and another black woman to win a Theatre World Award. Her work has been translated in over 20 languages and is international in its influence.Not every artist can say, my presence made a seismic shift...but for Ms. Shange there is not a question...Ase my Sista!
An Actor/Director sharing her thoughts on creativity in this crazy metropolis, New Yawk Citay.