Our Women Playwright Crushes of the week!

Our Women Crushes of the Week are Nikkole Salter and Danai Gurira!

Here’s a story

In 2005, my senior year of college, I had the pleasure of meeting Nikkole Salter and Danai Gurira during my spring break trip to New York City.  I came to see “In the Continuum“, their multi-award winning play, stayed for the talk-back and spoke to them afterwards about coming from Indiana and some of my work with HIV/AIDS, theatre, etc…

What’s more is that Nikkole invited me to a cafe post-show.  My memory escapes me now, because the meeting may have been days later, nonetheless it was another experience that further led me to where I am today with Blackboard and Harlem9.

Coming from Indiana University, a predominantly white institution, I was nearly speechless at the community of black women in theatre as I listened to their stories in a West village cafe near the Perry Street Theater where In the Continuum played following its run at the 59E59 Theaters.  I barely said a word as I sat among women who were making their lives in this industry in a brave and fearless manner.

Their performance and kindness towards me, a complete stranger, fueled me through my next two years in Indiana.

Years later, when I finally found my way to the city to work on my MFA in Playwrighting, I reconnected with Nikkole and invited her to submit to BlackBoard.  It was an exciting feeling to be able to give back to someone who gave me more than she or even I may have known.

Two of Nikkole’s plays have been featured in our series and most recently, CARNAVAL was recently published in an anthology of plays by African American Women!

As the years went on, I smiled every time I would see or hear mention of Danai.  You might know Danai from AMC’s The Walking Dead, but for our fellow theatre professionals and fans, Danai is also an award winning playwright.

If you haven’t heard… Danai has two plays approaching runs in New York as we speak: Familiar at Playwrights Horizons and Eclipsed on Broadway with Academy Award Winner, Lupita Nyongo.

Are you chrushin’ yet?

WCW Nikkole Danai

These two women — writers, actors and activists are triple threats in our little-big community.  They are taking our minds and hearts by storm and I am proud to name them our first “Women Crushes of the Week”! #wcw

Happy Hump Day!

~Garlia Cornelia Jones-Ly

Founder, Blackboard Reading Series

 

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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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One Response to Our Women Playwright Crushes of the week!

  1. This was very sweet, Garlia. So happy that we’ve fueled each other over these years, ’cause Lord knows I’ve appreciated your support and expertise. Here’s to life, love, family, and stories. Nikkole

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