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As young as I was then, foundation, eyeshadow and lipstick were easier for me to apply than playing jacks. Painting a character onto my face, and sometimes even performing as myself, were the most entertaining and most fulfilling thing I could do.


A ten-year old member of the youth theater company, I was one of the youngest working with middle and high schoolers singing, acting, dancing; and even writing, constructing props and sets. There were others my age who spent their summers at sleep away camps in the mountains or in natural settings fishing and swimming. My summers were make believe settings of fantastic kingdoms and cities and savannas—all made of cardboard, paint, glue and wood. I never wanted to be anywhere else.

Growing into an artist took time, but I had an aptitude for it; a voracious capacity for reading and dissecting psychology theories in order to become someone else. There were no characters I couldn’t comprehend and no stage I shied away from. The more I learned, the easier it was to see the boundaries theatre put on race. Transitioning to performance at the collegiate level meant fewer roles, less time onstage, and fewer plays with room for young black actors.  It was a shock to the system to go from three or four productions a year to competing for the role of Tituba, the slave. I couldn’t find a reason to paint my face for that particular production. I very nearly stopped performing altogether when I realized there were limits to my expression. Only the lipstick remained.

Collective Conscious

Creating Daily

April 2020

Subjective Realities