Rashawn & Beyond: Anti-Violence News for Queer People of Color

The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund aims to establish a sustainable tribute to Rashawn that promotes critical thought about the impact of violence and intolerance, particularly upon queer communities of African descent.

Through this blog, we provide action alerts, event postings and breaking news as a means of informing these communities in ways that enable them to combat racism and homophobia.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dirty Little Black Girls: A Play

By Jared Dewese & Steven Emmanuel

Ione Lloyd’s conceptual Dirty Little Black Girls received an audience in Brooklyn recently courtesy of Freedom Train Productions. Dirty Little Black Girls follows the tradition of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuff by using monologues and everyday women characters to move the plot. It centers on the lives of three modern day Park Slope, Brooklyn domestics. One a young Nigerian girl being enslaved and tortured by a black mistress, A Jamaican hot-blooded lesbian having an affair with her white female employer, and the third a sexy, intelligent, and misunderstood street-wise black girl. Each woman, including the white female employer, is trapped in circumstances that often seem inescapable. Unlike the mammy and coon characters of Broadway and Hollywood yesteryear, Lloyd has created rich and complex characters that will endear any audience they greet. Ione Lloyd recently granted us an interview where she talked about the inspiration for her play.

Tell us a little bit about Dirty Little Black Girls and how you conceptualized the story.
Dirty Little Black Girls is the story of 4 sexy women all in bondage to their circumstances, living and working in Park Slope Brooklyn. The cast includes three domestics of color: A 16 year old modern day slave from Nigeria, A Jamaican housekeeper who’s having an affair with her white female employer, a drop dead gorgeous ghetto fab nanny whose getting her PHD in chemistry, a late 40s desperate white housewife who’s having an affair with her housekeeper and one free character - The Little Black Devil a black female character in white face that devils the women into changing their lives, some for the better and for others.
All of these ladies and I use that term loosely - despite differences in age, sexuality or race are looking to escape and trying to figure what freedom is and what to do with it once it’s been won. This play honors our differences and celebrates the commonalities of the human experience. The white character is not the villain of this play, I’m actually not sure who is I think it depends on the audience’s mood.

Music and movement are key elements; the women often do the same chores at the same time - never knowing how connected and similar their lives really are. I was incredibly blessed to have such an amazing cast and director. When a piece is in development your director really needs to have your back , Michael Goldfried who directed this project not only had my back but he was down for whatever and was an inspiration to me and gave the actors and myself a safe place to play and ask questions the kind of questions only dirty little black girls would ask. With my work I take people of color out of the boxes (coffins, jail cells, stereotypes) society has put us in and create from a place where everyone can simply be.

Did your experiences growing up play a part in the molding of Dirty Little Black Girls?
Yes as it does with all of my plays. That’s why I refuse to get therapy, what would I have left to write about?

Why did you title the play Dirty Little Black Girls?
It creates a physical reaction different in each person and that really is where the play begins.

Why did you become a playwright?
I’m a born story teller.

Where did you the inspiration for your characters?

Where did you find your cast of amazing actresses?
I have no idea why these women aren’t famous but when they are they’d still better do my plays!

How did you become involved with Freedom Train Productions?
They had been following my work.
Have you had any other plays produced?
I’ve actually never been produced I’ve only had staged readings or bare bones workshops.

What’s in the future for Dirty Little Black Girls? Film? More stage readings?
I’m praying on all of the above and more.

Anything else you would like to share?
Tell everyone to hit me up on facebook to keep in touch search Ione Lloyd


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