Black Anthology Presents
essential(s) March 13, 2021
Black Anthology Presents
essential(s) March 13, 2021
Producer’s Note Dear lovely guests, I am honored to virtually welcome you all to the 32nd production of Black Anthology. In 1989, Marcia Hayes-Harris saw the need to have the experiences of Black students represented on the stage. This led to the creation of Black Anthology—Washington University’s first student-led cultural production. Since its inception, Black Anthology has provided students with the opportunity to discuss, complicate, and celebrate Black life, history, and culture across the globe. Our organization has covered a myriad of topics and issues that affect the Black community and continues to represent Black life in innovative, refreshing ways. Black Anthology has grown so much over the past 30 years; within recent years the executive board has moved to include a different philanthropic initiative each year to help make a positive impact in the greater St. Louis community. This year we have partnered with The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Women’s Business Center, formally known as The Grace Hill Women’s Business Center. This organization has been committed to providing business development to aspiring entrepreneurs, more specifically minority women. We are so excited to be working with them, especially during a time that has been difficult for many small business owners. This is my fourth, and final, year of working with Black Anthology. This organization has given me more than I could have ever imagined when I joined my freshman year. It has cultivated my leadership skills, allowed me to explore myself as a creative, and given me people who will be in my life for many years to come. Black Anthology has been one of the largest and most fruitful parts of my college career and I am sad to leave it. No one could have ever imagined there would be a production like this year’s production. Though 2020 has been chaotic, we did not want to use the show to address our new COVID-filled world. Instead, we wanted our show to provide a reprieve while not diverting from our mission to bring forth debates in our diverse Black community.
During any year there is so much behind-the scenes work that goes into making our show, but this year gave hard work a new meaning. The dedication shown by this cast and exec board during an especially challenging school year is unreal. From having to rethink our events and publicity tactics to virtual rehearsals, I want to extend a special thank you to every member of our organization, especially my wonderful executive board. 2020 brought great change and hardship. Nearly all of us lost something in one way or another. I would like to dedicate this show to those who have experienced the loss of a loved one this past year during a time where there is little space for true grief. I hope our show can offer you some light. Thank you for continuing to support Black Anthology during these unprecedented times.
All the very best, Sophia Kamanzi, Producer Black Anthology 2021
Black Anthology’s Purpose In 1989, Black Anthology was created as a part of the “Quest for Success” minority programming series at Washington University. Envisioned by Marcia Hayes-Harris, Black Anthology served as a means of educating both students and the great St. Louis community about the rich history of Black people and culture. As the production developed, it provided students with an opportunity to explore and celebrate the immense literary and artistic contributions of Black people through the performance of poetry, prose, music, and dance. Since its foundation, Black Anthology has become a key event in the celebration of Black History Month at Washington University and the greater St. Louis community. The production provides its participants with not only experience in performing arts, but also a place to hone skills in research, program planning, implementation, set design, and many more as it is student-led and run. As a completely student-operated production, students are involved with every step in the process of creating the final product, including writing the script, directing the scenes, creating the visual artwork, etc. Their faculty advisor provides guidance, support, and advocacy for the students during the process. Black Anthology functions as a platform for students to showcase their talents while also exploring issues that affect the Black community and prominent historical eras. Over the past 31 years, Black Anthology has explored a range of topics from policy brutality to the relationships between Africans and African-Americans to the impact of musical eras like Motown. Although the show’s focus changes from one production to another, the overall goal remains the same: create a dialogue. Black Anthology strives to inform its audience and to challenge previously conceived notions. We encourage audience members to continue the conversation after the show ends and begin their own dialogue in new spaces. Black Anthology is an important part of the community at Washington University and in St. Louis and appreciates your continued support. Thank you for coming to our 31st production. Please enjoy the show! For more information, please visit blackanthology.wustl.edu or email us at email@example.com. 6
Philanthropy Founded in 1999, The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Women’s Business Center, formally known as Grace Hill Women’s Business Center, is an organization committed to providing business development to aspiring entrepreneurs, more specifically minority women. Through partnerships with other organizations in the community, the WBC is able to offer programs such as 1:1 business counseling, seminars, speakers series, etc. to support every step of entrepreneurship. The Women’s Business Center offers an annual 12-week program, aimed at informing and engaging female entrepreneurs. This program, through individual coaching and providing access to professional services, allows for entrepreneurs to strengthen their knowledge of business. Participants who complete the series are able to win scholarships to advance their entrepreneurial goals. Black Anthology is proud to partner with The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Women’s Business Center to support their 12-week program, which grants women entrepreneurs the tools to excel. Black Anthology understands the importance of empowering and supporting female entrepreneurship, especially female minority entrepreneurs. We are thrilled to partner with an organization like the Women’s Business Center who aims to do the same. We will be collecting monetary donations that will go towards their 12-week program scholarships. The Women’s Business Center has supported Black Anthology this year by providing informational business workshops to our community, and we hope to give back to them through this year’s philanthropic initiative. To learn more about The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis Women’s Business Center and how to support its mission, please visit gracehillwbc.org.
Kamryn Haynes, Philanthropy Chair Black Anthology 2021 7
Director’s Note Wherever you may be, I welcome you to the 32nd production of Black Anthology! I am honored to be able to work with Black Anthology for my second year. Black Anthology has been a significant part of my college experience: I have gained so many crucial skills and have had the chance to build new relationships with the most creative and beautiful humans. Theater has been such an integral part of my life since I was little, and I cannot thank Black Anthology enough for allowing me to continue my passion into college. With all that has happened in the past year, our executive board had a hard time figuring what we wanted this year’s production to be about. Ultimately, after ruminating on the overwhelming loss of many Black women to brutality, Breonna Taylor, Oluwatoyin Salau, Monika Diamond, Lexi, Nina Pop, Dominique Fells, Brayla Stone, Sandra Bland, Pamela Turner, We decided that it was time to highlight Black women. The list I have above is but a drop in the bucket considering how many we have lost. We must think about how we treat or rather do not treat the Black Women in our lives. I have been blessed enough to be surrounded by an amazing array of Black women during my college career, and this show is for them. Black women deserve better. Our community cannot treat our women like they are worthless because of their skin tone, facial features, or their hair. It is time we truly realize and accept that all Black is beautiful. I hope this show opens your eyes a bit to the struggle of Black women. Furthermore, I hope that this show allows you, my Black Women, to see yourself represented without all the trauma that many movies show. We aimed for this to be more of a slice of life piece, instead of focusing on all the negatives that we regularly endure. I would like to give thanks to our first-year intern Maya Phelps, producer Sophia Kamanzi, playwright Jamila Dawkins, and stage manager Sabrina Spence for keeping me sane and for their immense support and dedication to Black Anthology. Moving up the ladder from assistant director has been a humbling experience and I can only hope I have made those in Black Anthology past and present proud of me. 8
Thank you all for continuing to support Black Anthology, and for watching our production, especially in this new format. Theater is supposed to be for everyone, and we appreciate the opportunity to create and share Black-centered art. I hope you all enjoy the stunning performance that this lovely cast of actors and dancers have created.
Courtney Robertson, Director Black Anthology 2021
Choreographer’s Note Hi everyone! I am so excited for you all to view this virtual production of Black Anthology. The dancers, cast, and executive board did incredible work to make the show happen despite the current state of the world. I have participated in Black Anthology since my freshman year of college, and it has been one of the central parts of my undergraduate experience. Some of the most creative people I know from Wash U I met through BA. I have also made some great friends and I know we will all keep in touch and come back to St. Louis for future BA productions. This year, dance operated much differently than usual due to specific rules Wash U had regarding group physical activity. Normally we meet every Saturday on campus in a dance studio to rehearse but this year we held every rehearsal on Zoom. This format made teaching and learning choreography much more difficult, but the dancers adapted very well. The dancers also had to dance individually (even in group dances) and their individual videos were edited together to form the final product you will see tonight. I would like to thank my assistant choreographer Hannah Stevens, who edited two of the dances, as well as Spelman student, Gabrielle Morse, who edited the other two. I think the themes of this year’s production of Black Anthology show what we all need during a time like this. We must hold onto the things we find most important and appreciate the people who matter most to us. At a time when we have had to let a lot of things go, I think many of us have discovered what is most essential. To be the choreographer of Black Anthology for three years in a row after dancing in the show my freshman year has been eye opening, challenging, and the biggest gift. I will miss sleepy Saturday morning rehearsals, post-exec board meeting chats with Sophia Kamanzi and Dean Diallo, and seeing everyone’s hard work come together on stage. I cannot believe this is the last time I will ever be a part of the process, but I cannot wait to see what future executive boards come up with. I hope you all enjoy the show!
Julia Stewart, Choreographer Black Anthology 2021 10
Dramaturgical Note What does Blackness look like? For many of us, Blackness is identity. It is a place of comfort, the source of a shared experience that is ancient and meaningful. It is hair, skin, family, tradition, community, love. But if Blackness is hair, which kinds of hair? Natural hair has long been rejected by popular culture and seen as something to be “fixed” in order to achieve success. In the 1900s, products to straighten hair (alongside skin-lightening products) created by and for Black people were already taking off. The first hair products to ever have been conceptualized by, created by, and consumed by African Americans were hair softeners and hair-straightening combs. Influential moments like the “Black is beautiful” movement in the 60s, as well as figureheads like Angela Davis and Diana Ross placed new emphasis on the natural state of Black hair, championing afros and Black self-love. Publications like the Negro Digest began to encourage a new movement “toward a black aesthetic” as a sign of non-conformance to Eurocentric beauty standards. But even then, natural hair was radical—militant, even. This not only shaped the way Black people saw their hair but also the way white people saw Black hair, as an association between natural textured hair and unruliness was formed. Today, Black hair continues to be hyper-political. The CROWN Act, which was first introduced in 2019 and has since been accepted by seven states, proposes legislation to prohibit race-based hair discrimination, an indication of the continued political reality of our hair. Black hair is persecuted in the workplace, in the classroom, and at home. In fact, the CROWN Act was rooted in a 2019 study by Dove that found that Black women report being 30 percent more likely to receive formal grooming instruction at their workplace, and 1.5 times more likely to be sent home or know of a Black woman who was sent home from work for her hair. It can be a source of derision from any number of sources—those who choose to chemically straighten their hair are criticized by those who those who are natural; Black men are warned to wear their hair in such a way as to not look like a “thug”; 4C hair textures are discarded as “bad hair,” and treated like a curse passed from parent to child. The 2000s saw a resurgence in the natural hair movement with documentaries like My Nappy Roots: A Journey Through Black Hair-itage in 2005 and Good Hair in 2009, and the new prevalence of Black-owned hair blogs and products 11
indicate a lot of progress on tearing apart these conceptions. A 2019 Mintel business report found that the Black hair care industry, previously ruled by the sale of relaxers and perms, had made a distinct shift away from chemical stylers and toward more natural products. However, try as we might to celebrate it, many of us still see it as something to tame. If Blackness is skin, what kind of skin? Colorism reaches back into American history, back to brown paper bag tests and Blue Vein societies, to “house Negroes” and mulattos. The obsession with the “degree to which one was Black” was everywhere, with terms like “quadroon” and “octoroon” perpetuated to denote how much “Black blood” one had in them. For a long time, light-skinned Black people were encouraged to attempt to pass as white, or at least to separate themselves from their Black ancestry in hopes to live a marginally better life. James Weldon Johnson, leader of the NAACP in the early 1900s and author of the lyrics to Lift Every Voice and Sing, authored a fictional story in 1912—based on stories he had gathered throughout his life—called The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man about a man who becomes determined to pass as white after witnessing a lynching. At the end of the book, the “ex-colored man” reflects that he has “sold [his] birthright for a mess of pottage,” reflecting the feeling of many that they had to choose either their Blackness or their success. Imitation of Life, released in 1959, drew from a similar dynamic by portraying a white-passing girl who, after being treated awfully upon discovery of being Black, rejects her darker-skinned mother and runs away to live her life passing as white. The movie was preserved in the National Film Registry in 2015 for its cultural, historical, and aesthetical significance. Today, colorism lives in our families, breeds in our children—researching for this play, I read accounts of little kindergarteners who, when asked to choose the crayon that matches their skin tone to draw a self-portrait, always, always chose crayons that were a shade lighter. About girls who had been told they were “pretty for a darkskinned girl,” about men who were reduced to fetishes by their nonBlack partners. A 2014 study using data from the National Survey of American Life found that dark skin is significantly correlated with Black Americans’ outcomes in educational attainment, household income, and status within their occupation. Light-skinned women are fetishized, branded as exotic, and expected to take it as 12
a compliment. Sometimes, they are excluded from Blackness altogether. Black skin is commodified: whipped up into chocolate and mocha and honey and coffee. It is also disrespected: compared to dirt, to feces, to charcoal. Lyrics like “And groups of pretty — with them light skin complexion” and “I tell a dark skin chick I’m allergic to chocolate” from dark-skinned artists like Fabolous and Lil’ Wayne—and the primarily light-skinned women featured in their music videos— only contribute to the culture of portraying dark skin as unattractive. Ta-Nehisi Coates reflects in his 2011 article “Dark Girls” about a moment as a child when he told his mother that he “liked light-skin girls.” After being lectured thoroughly, Coates—who is, in fact, darker than his mother—remembers asking himself: “Why do I think that anyway?” The choice to see Black skin as beautiful is, for many of us, a difficult and transformative act. If Blackness is love, what kind of love? Black love stories have been told, retold, picked apart, and analyzed for decades. From movie classics like Love Jones in 1997, Love and Basketball in 2000, and The Photograph twenty years later, many strides have been made in popularizing Black love stories. However, these are stories that tend to be rife with pain, abuse, and loss of self, particularly for Black women. Black love rarely gets to just be about love. Cultural phenomena like Martin and The Cosby Show modelled a kind of carefree Black love, but for every Mr. and Mrs. Huxtable, there was also an Effie White of Dreamgirls or Celie of The Color Purple. In the space of the theater, productions like for colored girls who have considered suicide and Porgy and Bess shocked audiences by displaying the joys and pains of Black love and femininity. Still, these stories are unique and often are not pushed into the mainstream. When we do get Black love stories, they often do not look like us. Recent film adaptations like The Sun is Also a Star have been criticized for casting light-skinned women in roles written for darkskinned women—Zoe Saldana, too, came under fire almost a decade ago for her casting in a Nina Simone biopic and the facial prosthetics and nappy wig that were used to help her emulate the iconic—and dark-skinned—singer. Queer black love continues to be virtually invisible in theaters and the mainstream, with Moonlight making history four years ago for being the first all-Black and LGBTQ*-related film to win the Oscar for Best Picture. Black love on the screen and the stage often does not reflect what our stories really look like. 13
Especially from the perspective of the college and online dating scene, romance does not just carry with it the threat of heartbreak but also of invalidation, of rejection based on superficiality, and insecurity in your skin and your worthiness of love. A 2009 survey of dating at predominantly white colleges found that heterosexual Black women tended to experience more stress due to the limited dating pool—the white men were reluctant to date them, and Black and other POC men were in short supply. Another 2009 study supported by The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that among students at majority-white high schools, Black girls were least likely to be romantically involved. In 2014, OkCupid released data that showed that Black women were at the bottom of the list when users rated attraction. At PWIs, dating as a Black woman can come with feelings that we are not the standard but a deviation—an experience, to be recalled fondly in a decade, not to be taken seriously as a potential life partner. The stories of strife are worth telling, but I also hoped with this play to highlight Black love that is healthy, that is innocent, that is kind. Black love is more than the harmful systems that plague it. It is also the care of a mother to her child, or a friend to their friend, or a person to their partner. Black love is self-love, too. I hoped to show that love is as much a rescuing force as it is a harmful one. What is Blackness? I do not have an answer. If you are Black, I hope you feel that you belong to it. I hope you never doubt that your experiences are a part of the museum. What is essential? Black Anthology’s mission is to explore and celebrate the lived experience and artistry of Black people. All of our pieces of Blackness— the weird ones, the non-stereotypical ones, the flawed ones, and especially the permanent ones—have a place on the stage. This play is the product of a pandemic, but it is not a pandemic play. It is a celebration of family, love, and identity, and what it means to lose them. Jamila Dawkins, Playwright Black Anthology 2021 14
Show Music Wash & Set by Leikeli47 Godspeed by Frank Ocean I Am by Jorja Smith Girlfriend by NAO For Once in My Life by Stevie Wonder Where is the Love by Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway Walk With Us - For Black Lives Matter by Alexis Ffrench
December Drop: Digital Museum Each December, Black Anthology reveals the long-awaited show title and art. We wanted to ensure that amidst a global pandemic, non-Black Anthology affiliated students had the opportunity to stay engaged. We are elated to feature 48 Black students, across undergraduate and graduate programs, who were selected on their writing and art, creating content that fell along the themes of identity, selflove, and memories, places, and things that they cannot live without. Please view this museum as a Padlet by Black Anthology at padlet.com/blackanthology/vkfuomh8azvs51gk.
December Drop: Playlist In recent years, Black Anthology has released a playlist of songs during December Drop that connect to the production’s theme. Find the 2020 December Drop playlist by Black Anthology on Spotify at open.spotify.com/playlist/4CFFUUDvBmbNfQXUCLQrog.
Straight And Nappy by Jigaboos & Wannabees Chorus I’m Every Woman by Chaka Khan Independent Women, Pt. 1 by Destiny’s Child High Rises by CHIKA Beautiful by Snoop Dogg, Pharrell Williams, Uncle Charlie Wilson I Am Not My Hair by India.Arie Best Friend by Brandy Grown Woman by Xavier Omär Ordinary People by John Legend Mad (feat. Lil Wayne) by Solange, Lil Wayne Afro Puffs by The Lady of Rage It Gets Better (With Time) by The Internet Thank You by Kehlani Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I’m Yours) by Stevie Wonder We Might Even Be Falling In Love (Interlude) by Victoria Monét
Executive Board 2020–2021 Sophia Kamanzi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Producer Jamila Dawkins. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Playwright Courtney Robertson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Director Julia Stewart. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Choreographer Hannah Stevens. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Assistant Choreographer Sabrina Spence. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stage Manager Marc Ridgell. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Publicity Chair Bread Lee. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Show Artist Sparkle Whitaker. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Costume Designer Kamryn Haynes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Makeup Artist, Philanthropy Chair Jewel Evans. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Treasurer Maya Phelps. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . First-Year Intern Ryan Wilson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . First-Year Intern Dean Willmeta Toliver-Diallo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Faculty Advisor
Cast Goodness Adekanmi. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trish Raevyn Ferguson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Nia MK Townsend. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Micah Christian Alexander. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Daniel Cecelia Anderson. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jill Desmond Young. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Will Idia Ogbomoh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cynthia Izzy Williams. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Gloria Shaelee Comettant. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Amy, Real Estate Agent
Dancers Ruth Alemu Caro Diego Courtney Fenderson Sarah Forbes Kamryn Haynes Ella Holman Kimberly Neal Jebron Perkins Julia Stewart Hannah Stevens Diamond Warren-Tucker
Cast, Dancers, Executive Board Goodness Adekanmi (Trish) is a sophomore from St. Paul, Minnesota studying Economics. This is her second year in Black Anthology and she is so excited for everyone to see the hard work that went into the show.
Ruth Alemu (Dancer) was born in Ethiopia but lives in Louisiana. She has loved dancing since she was a little girl and is super excited to be a dancer in Black Anthology for the first time this year!
Christian Alexander (Daniel) is a sophomore studying Mechanical Engineering who calls the greater Los Angeles area home. This is his first time joining Black Anthology and acting onstage. He is excited and honored to help bring an authentic, Black story to life and hopes you enjoy it! Cecelia Anderson (Jill) is from Lansing, Michigan and this is her first time being involved in Black Anthology. She is very honored to be in the cast and hopes everyone enjoys the show!
Caro Diego (Dancer) is involved with Black Anthology for her first year and is so excited to have the opportunity to be a performer in this powerfully engaging and collaborative story.
Shaelee Commetant (Amy, Real Estate Agent) is from Framingham, Massachusetts and this is her first year being involved in Black Anthology. She is so excited to be a part of the show!
Jamila Dawkins (Playwright), first-time playwright, has learned so much from the creative undertaking that has been this year’s show. This is her second year on Executive Board, and she is proud to be a part of the production. To Nathan Dawkins: thank you. Jewel Evans (Treasurer) is a Sophomore from Orchard Lake, Michigan. This is her second year with Black Anthology, and she is proud that Black Anthology is always committed to putting on an amazing show for the Black community.
Courtney Fenderson (Dancer) is from Cleveland, Ohio and this is her first year dancing in Black Anthology. She is very passionate about dancing and cannot wait to perform this year!
Raevyn Ferguson (Nia) is a sophomore from St. Louis. Although she has witnessed Black Anthology for a few years, this will be her first year participating. Since being in college, she has regained her love for acting and wanted to be a part of the show so she could tell Black stories. Raevyn is so excited to perform and hopes that you all will learn from the show as much as she learned from the process! Sarah Forbes (Dancer) is involved with Black Anthology for the fourth time. She loves the emotion and passion that is put into the dances each year. She is grateful to be able to work with such amazing choreographers and dancers!
Kamryn Haynes (Makeup and Philanthropy Chair, Dancer) is a junior from St. Louis and has been involved with Black Anthology since her freshman year. She is excited for the virtual show this year and cannot wait for the St. Louis community to see it! 22
Ella Holman (Dancer) is from St. Louis and this is her second year doing Black Anthology. She loves participating in Black Anthology because of the creativity of her peers and is so excited for the show.
Sophia Kamanzi (Producer) is a senior from O’Fallon, Missouri studying PhilosophyNeuroscience-Psychology on the Cognitive Neuroscience track. This is her fourth and final memory-filled year with Black Anthology. She hopes you enjoy the show and are staying safe! Seth Kleinberg (Lighting Designer) is from Los Angeles and became involved with Black Anthology early this year. He feels honored to help bring the stories told in the show to life, and is equally excited to continue his connection with Black Anthology. Miles “Bread” Lee (Show Artist) is a Sam Fox senior from Dallas. Though this is their first year involved with the show, they have admired Black Anthology since their freshman year. They are honored by the chance to work alongside so many passionate people.
Kimberly Neal (Dancer) is a senior from Atlanta and this is her second year of being a dancer in Black Anthology. She joined after being inspired by the show her first year and loved the experience of her first performance with Black Anthology. Idia Ogbomoh (Cynthia) is from the South Suburbs of Chicago and has been involved with Black Anthology since her sophomore year. She joined to find a creative outlet from her academics.
Maya Phelps (First-year Intern) is from a small town in Iowa and this is her first year with Black Anthology. She joined to continue her love for directing and to stay connected to theatre. She hopes you love the show as much as she does! Marc Ridgell (Publicity Chair), a sophomore from Chicago, joined Black Anthology Executive Board last year, serving as the Firstyear Publicity Intern. This year, as the Publicity Chair, Marc has discerned new ways to engage with, publicize for, and integrate the WashU community into the production! 24
Courtney Robertson (Director) grew up in Houston, Texas and has always loved theatre. This is her second year in Black Anthology and her directorial debut. She is grateful for the opportunity to tell Black stories and would like to thank the executive board, actors, and dancers for bringing this story to life. Sabrina Spence (Stage Manager) is from Memphis and has been the Stage Manager for Black Anthology for three years. She is so excited to continue her role, especially in this unprecedented time. She cannot wait for the WashU community to see the hard work that the cast, dancers, and exec have put in to make this show possible. Hannah Stevens (Assistant Choreographer, Dancer) is an Arts and Sciences sophomore from Houston, Texas. This is her second year in Black Anthology and she cannot wait for everyone to see the show!
Julia Stewart (Choreographer, Dancer) is a senior from Washington, DC. This is her fourth year involved with Black Anthology and she cannot wait to see the executive board’s and dancers’ perseverance pay off for the incredible 2021 production.
Mary-Katherine Townsend (Micah) is a junior from St. Louis and this is her third year involved with Black Anthology as an actor. She has loved being a part of Black Anthology and is excited for everyone to see this year’s virtual show!
Desmond Young (Will) is from Jackson, Mississippi. He was encouraged to join Black Anthology by a friend. This is his first year being involved, and he is enjoying every moment of it.
Izzy Williams (Gloria) is from O’Fallon, Missouri. This is her first year being involved with Black Anthology and she has loved every second of it! She joined Black Anthology to connect more with her Blackness. She is so grateful to be part of this experience and admires all of the people she has met along the way. Diamond Warren-Tucker (Dancer) is from Coral Springs, Florida and this is their first year involved with Black Anthology. They joined because they saw Black Anthology as an opportunity to expand their dance repertoire and connect with amazing people in the process.
Jebron Perkins (Dancer) is from Indianapolis, Indiana and this is his first year dancing as part of Black Anthology. He is excited to be able to use movement to animate the story of essential(s).
Sparkle Whitaker (Costume Designer), a creative multihyphenate, has served on the executive board for two years as the costume designer and prop manager. With her fashion business, The Onyx Label, she focuses on design and sociology, looking for ways in which design can improve social systems, such as sustainability. Ryan Wilson (First-year Intern) was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. She wanted to be a part of Black Anthology to meet peers who have a similar interest in storytelling like herself!
Dean Wilmetta Toliver-Diallo (Advisor) has advised Black Anthology for 15 years. She salutes the executive board, actors and dancers for working in such a different environment but committing to bringing this show to “the stage.” She bows down to Sophia Kamanzi who went just above and beyond the call of duty to make this happen and to make us all look good. Theatre played such a role in her childhood and college experience because the ability to embody and tell a compelling story can sit with you forever. She hopes the audience can sit with this story for years to come.
Previous Black Anthology Productions We would like to thank Marcia Hayes-Harris for her vision, as well as the current, and past, Black anthology executive board, cast, and dancers for the extensive amount of hard work and diligence put into continuing the legacy and traditions of Black Anthology. Without these wonderful people, Black Anthology would not exist, and we are deeply appreciative of the love, support, and effort! We would also like to pay homage to previous productions as well as the past directors, coordinators, and producers. 1990: Black Anthology Coordinator: Francine Stowe 1991: Black Anthology Director: Carlos Sneed 1992: Resistance Director: Mo Barbosa 1994: The Harlem Renaissance: A Montage Reclaimed 1995: Celebrating the Black Family Director: Aaron Greer Coordinator: Michele Hanshow Holton 1996: Black Identity: Reflections Blackness Director: Brent Gilmore Coordinator: Kristy McDowell 1997: Black Comedy: Laughing to Keep from Crying Director: Corey Jones Coordinator: Courtney Collier 1998: A Black Love Song Director: June Christian Coordinator: Lori Crawford 1999: The Black Continuum Director: LaMonica Carpenter-Okrah 29
2000: Flip the Script: Dreams, Escapes, Revolutions Director: Miles Grier Special Thanks to Andrea Urice with PAD 2002: Reflections: Standing Behind the Mirror Director: Imani Cheers 2003: Shattered Lens: Reconstructing the American Montage Director: Linda Esah 2004: Linked Fate Director: Derrick A. Everett 2005: The Ties that Bind Director: Andrea Lee 2006: Lest We Forget Director: Andrea Newsome 2007: Refrain: A Cautionary Tale Director: LaMar Moore 2008: Syncopated: Can YOU Keep the Beat? Director: Valerie Wade 2009: Midnight Chronicles Director: Heather Skanes 2010: Intersection Director: Nadia Mann 2011: Double Consciousness Director: DeMarco Mitchener 2012: Lest We Forget Director: Diamond Skinner 2013: Metro Director: Kris Campa
2014: PostDirector: Chelsea Whitaker Producer: Kendall Maxwell 2015: The Six Director: Dana Robertson Producer: Lemoine Joseph 2016: woke Director: Schuyler Atkins Producer: Alexandra Mitchell 2017: Black & Blue Director: Ebby Offord Producer: Destinee Shipley 2018: 1:05 Director: Ebby Offord Producer: Taylor L. Bailey 2019: The Creation. Director: Ebby Offord Producer: Taylor L. Bailey 2020: MASQUERADE Director: Ali Elganzouri Producer: Sophia Kamanzi
Special Thanks Black Anthology would like to extend a special thanks to the following people and organizations who made this unprecedented year’s production possible. All of them have been generous with their time, advice, and support. We are truly grateful. Marcia Hayes Harris Mrs. Jane Ervin Robin Britt Tameka Stigers, Locs of Glory Judy Best, Best Talent Center The St. Louis American The St. Louis American Foundation The Black Rep Morgan Witzig Phyllis Jackson Catherine Winter Emily Frei Jeff Allen Kirven Douthit-Boyd Wes Murrell Kyle Himsworth Bill Larson Robin Britt
Heather Himes Gabrielle Morse Nathan Dawkins Coumba Diallo Jack Frischer Taylor Dow Therese Miantsoko (DJ Soko) WUSLam Digital Museum Contributors