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Photo Credit: Martha Swope via NYPL

Black theatre. A space of inspired creativity, performance art and social commentary on the lives of everyday people. As the curtains open and our stories unfold, we are transported to a place where our dreams and realities intermingle with song, dance and powerful dialogue. When the curtains close and the theatre goes dark, we are left with emotions, memories, images and often quotes that reflect the highs and lows of African American existence.

Let’s take a moment and revisit, in no particular order, ten inspirational quotes from some of our favorite pieces.

  1. On loving one another:

“There is always something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that, you ain’t learned nothing.” – Loraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

  1. Beginning a journey into the unknown:

“Count your blessings, cut your losses and follow the yellow brick road.” –The Wiz

  1. Because sometimes your dreams are right there in front of you:

“Ev’ry man has his own special dream. And your dream’s just about to come true. Life’s not as bad as it may seem, if you open your eyes to what’s in front of you!” –Dreamgirls

  1. On choices:

“When the sins of our fathers visit us, we do not have to play host. We can banish them with forgiveness as God, in His Largeness and Laws.” ― August Wilson, Fences

  1. On our own divinity:

“I am an expression of the divine, just like a peach is, just like a fish is. I have a right to be this way…I can’t apologize for that, nor can I change it, nor do I want to… We will never have to be other than who we are in order to be successful…We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose.” – Alice Walker, The Color Purple

  1. On relaxing and enjoying the moment:

“Summertime, and the living is easy.” –Porgy and Bess

  1. On learning to love yourself:

“I found god in myself and I loved her. I loved her fiercely” –Ntozake Shange, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf

  1. On personal empowerment and survival:

“I’m poor, black; I may even be ugly. But dear God! I’m here! I’m here! –Alice Walker, The Color Purple

  1. On getting yourself together to fulfill your potential:

“Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than you have become; take your place in the circle of life.” –The Lion King

  1. On being okay with starting over:

“I ain’t never found no place for me to fit. Seem like all I do is start over. It ain’t nothing to find no starting place in the world. You just start from where you find yourself.” ― August Wilson, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone

 

Now, tell us what are some of your favorite inspirational quotes from African American theatre? Drop your favorites in the comments!

 

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