“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” –Maya Angelou
On Mothers Day I attended #50in50:Writing Women Into Existence. The event celebrated Black women from across the world with our stories. From childhood, youth, young adulthood, middle age and mature, the stories spanned through life. 221 stories were submitted but only 50 made the cut.
The well-regarded cast included Simone Missick, Pauletta Washington, Phyllis Yvonne Stickney, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Cassandra Freeman, Lekeithia Dalcoe, Kristen Adele, Celestine Rae and Lizan Mitchell. Dressed in black from head to toe, the ladies grandly walked in a line, on stage and began the 90-minute journey into the lives of Black women.
The entire ensemble performed my poem Lost Slave. Each actress took a line and brought it to life. In quick succession, with overlapping lines the actresses performed Lost Slave(LS).
Leading up to the performance I had thoughts of which lady I’d love share my piece on the stage. I cried tears as I saw each lady, take a line and own it. They masterfully brought my words alive for the audience.
Actress Lizan Mitchell told me afterwards, “We had to make sure each line popped! Beautiful piece.” Ms. Mitchell blew me away because she reminded me of my paternal grandmother. Meeting her after the show I fought back tears. Her spirit was beautiful and welcoming. I could have spent hours in her presence. Her voice was strong and clear and some may say deep for a woman. I thoroughly enjoyed everything about her delivery of each piece performed on Mother’s Day.
Kristen Adele, a New York based actress whose credits included Orange in the New Black said, “It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with such amazing women on great material. I’ve never worked on a project that was completely run by Black women.”
My piece was included because it gave a voice to something familiar that Black women deal with. The themes of happiness, love, intimacy and heartbreak were present in LS.
The ending of my piece often catches most off guard. “We loved it (LS). Especially the surprise ending,” said Ms. Adele. Ms. Adele spoke the last lines of my poem.
I really did. But instead, I cried.
What moved me most was hearing each line said aloud. It is an emotional experience to see others interpret my art. I was never afraid it wouldn’t be done well. But I have to admit I’ve never seen my artwork showcased in such a way. I was simply nervous and anxious.
The lines of the poem that caused much crowd reaction read:
I wanted to smoke something that had me high and on cloud 9.
Who doesn’t love Mary Jane?
This wonderful afternoon provided me with the most memorable Mother’s Day I have ever had. I won’t soon forget the special feeling of being surrounded by so many beautiful sisters.
Enjoy a look at the photos from the event! I’m hoping to get access to a recording of LS soon.