Bad Girl by Elizabeth Herron

I am thrilled about the amazing roles that are being written for black actresses on TV today. These roles tell stories of flawed, imperfect, mistake covering up bad girls who occasionally erase business emails from servers they keep in their homes (oops – I’m mixing up some thangs!) I LOVE it!!!

A friend reached out to me recently because she wanted to find a dance class for her 11 year old. It turned out to be a bigger task than she thought. Her daughter is an athletic young lady with a strong and independent spirit and a thirst for movement. All the classes she was finding were ‘cute’ and in the style of pageantry. She attended a recital and the girls (Jonbenet Ramsey look-a-likes) looked like baby whores about to take a stroll. My friend said her spirit froze at the thought of her daughter on stage in that capacity. She opted for martial arts instead.

As a culture, we encourage girls to maintain a good girl image through the idea of ‘cute.’ My childhood teaches me that the moments of great growth and revelation came from moments when I was bad. These moments inspired epic conversations, debates and soul searching that would not have come about if I was always encouraged to stay in a perpetual state of ‘cuteness.’

I’m thankful in my own reflections about the way my mother embraced my bad girl tenancies and in correcting me, she did not make me feel horrible for having these impulses. It has helped me as an adult because I am not afraid to wear tight clothes, travel to forbidden foreign lands by myself, I am not afraid to speak my opinion and I am certainly not afraid to laugh out loud. Thank you JoeAnn Herron for allowing me to speak with my demons, explore my dark places and help channel them sweetly into my light.

TV shows like Empire are a cultural phenomenon because they demystify the ‘cuteness’ that traps our souls into small pink boxed categories. As tribute to Cookie and in honor my mother’s spirit (and my Grandmother Mary’s spirit), I will execute my version of the ‘Cookie Walk’ every Wednesday and beyond.


Elizabeth Herron is a stage director/arts educator who currently resides in Kansas City.  A KC native, Elizabeth resided in Harlem for 14 years and worked as a teaching artist and stage director.  She worked for The Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center Theatre, Lincoln Center Institute, Urban Bush Women and the University of Kentucky – Lexington where I was a guest artist. She looks forward to further adventures in American Theater and beyond.

5 thoughts on “Bad Girl by Elizabeth Herron”

  1. You are so in my tent when you talk of the all those pageantry babies permed and eyelashed, (total body paint!) bosoms-stuffed-with-tissue and dressed like Marilyn Monroe. I call the whole thing ‘mothers-gone-mad’. In an attempt to live through their youngsters, they make a mockery of innocent (and what should be) proud, girlhood. Hopefully, “cute” will soon be on its way out and all that make-up will be removed so we can see the beauty of the real child beneath all that fluff!

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