LaTonia Phipps – Featured Playwright – July 2013 – “Now Harlem…OR GENTRIFY THIS”

LaTonia Phipps HS(Commercial)LaTonia Phipps is an Actor-Performance Artist-Educator and Playwright who was raised in Brooklyn, New York. MFA graduate of Brooklyn
College. Phipps parents are of Caribbean, Latin and Southern Black American descent which heavily influence her storytelling.  Recently Phipps starred as the lead actress in Katori Hall’s “Children of
Killers,” landing her a full page article in The New York Times, The New York Post and Daily News. Her writing style is a mix of choreo-poetry and non-linear dialogue. She had her first writing debut
with her one woman show entitled, “Fishin’In Brooklyn,” following a young actor turned writer who finds herself through the spirit of her
late mother. Phipps also portrays 28 characters and infuses slam
poetry,dance and song. This piece has been seen at The Woodstock
Fringe Festival, The Rotunda Theater, and Theater Row to name a few.
Phipps is excited to embark on her secondary project, “Now Harlem. Or
Gentrify This,” with Blackboard @ the cell and looks forward to future
development on this project.

NowHarlem poster July 2013

A dynamic story of two electric yet complex young women, one black the other white, AND their Harlem neighborhood. Part catharsis, part testimonial, “Now…Harlem,” calls for a community to first examine themselves before demanding a change. In a society masked by centuries of pain, this piece poetically explores a journey toward love, loss, faith, and healing.


Follow LaTonia:


LaTonia’s Facebook Page


About blackboardplays

Familiar with the collectives for poets and other Black writers that had been created over the years and slightly envious of that sense of community, I became curious about a similar place for playwrights. I wanted to see Black playwrights, actors and directors excited over each others work and supporting each other. I was longing for a “home” as a Black playwright and wanted to see other Black artists in that home, not to be exclusive, but because there was a void. I was also eager to find other Black playwrights who shared a passion for the craft of storytelling. The stories of the Black community are diverse and are often hidden behind the blockbuster stereotyped versions. The non-artistic Black community, not involved in the writing of these stories, is yearning to see themselves in our stories and it is apart of my life’s work to ensure that happens. the cell is any artists’ dream: a new space that supports you as you grow, committed to new work and the art. This allows the writer to focus on the craft - to focus on their story. Nancy Manocherian and Kira Simring welcomed this idea with open arms and instantly became apart of what we later called “Blackboard Reading Series”. Every reading will conclude a twenty minute talk-back with the audience. Dialogue with the community is essential to what we want to do with the series. As we grow, there may be more readings a month, play festivals and of course productions. We want to nurture and develop new black playwrights for this generation! Thank You! Garlia Cornelia Jones Founder, Blackboard Reading Series
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