While studying film in grad school, a lot of my professors had taken on the “grassroots/indie” approach to their art and influenced the students as well. Meaning, if you want it on the big screen you have to execute guerilla style film making and do everything yourself. So being a writer and actor, when I first moved to Los Angeles, my natural inking was to write a play, cast it, direct it, produce it, market it, etc.
For me, that robbed me of the time I needed to be creative. As my luck would have it, I went to a book reading for Ntozake Shange and she said something that saved me from a lot of future stress. To paraphrase her, ‘write something so good, others will want to perform it, buy it and/or produce it.’ So after studying arts all through high school, undergrad and grad school, I found myself back in the library reading the timeline and art of some of my Sheros.
I sought to study the greats and determine how they were able to create timeless art that others yearned to bring to life and share with their perspective audiences. That is my mission. Especially with my play, “Hope’s Return”.
Recently, I was in attendance for a production of the play at Alabama State University. The play is about a young African-American woman returning to her southern roots with PTSD after a tour in Iraq. Her family isn’t equipped to handle her condition beyond their strong belief in prayer. This is the third time it has been produced. I was just as engaged with the story and characters as I had been when writing it. Watching someone else direct your vision brings forth a different story every time. One that I want to enjoy for years to come.
If you haven’t been watching “Rebel” on BET on Tuesdays, you are missing out on a spectacular show! I write the poetry for the television series as well as the digital series, “Rebel Yell“. (click link to see Rebel give her meaning of love in the poem, “Almost a Lamentation”) The first time I saw the lead actor, Danielle Mone Truitt, interpret my poetry I was blown away! So if I have to remain a student of literature for this to continue to happen, sign me up!
Now this doesn’t mean I won’t ever direct a writing I create or stop being a performance poet. This is for anyone under the impression that the only way to get your work in front of an audience is to do it all yourself. No, create art that others can see themselves or their demographic engaged in. Remove yourself from the work and let others seek your work! This is my wish for you!