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Katori Hall’s ‘Pussy Valley’ closes at Mixed Blood Theatre

Broadway Black

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The Mixed Blood Theatre‘s world premier production of Katori Hall‘s ‘Pussy Valley‘ closed its successful run of this exciting new work on May 10th. The play centered around the lives of four women working in a Mississippi strip club, a world that Hall describes as “the intersection of hip hop and strip club cultures.” Featuring live pole dancing and Hall’s incendiary poetry and prose, the show was well received by local critics and is sure to have a lively regional life. Fingers crossed that this production might lead to another broadway run for this innovative artist.

The motley cast of characters included Jasmine Hughes, Joetta Wright, Megan Rippey and Tatiana Williams as Mercedes, Miss Mississippi, Get em’ Gidget and Autumn Night, who twerked and twirled through the performance while allowing a glimpse into the lives of dancers at the Pink Pony. Not least was the performance of Nicco Annan as Uncle Clifford, a pre-op trans man who watches over the girls of the club. In Hall’s capable hands, these characters rise above being stereotypical depictions and instead shed light into the beauty and the heart break of their lives.

pussyvalley

Hall, best known for her award winning play ‘The Mountaintop‘ about the final days of Martin Luther King Jr, was the first African American playwright to win the Olivier Award. Since her rise on the Broadway scene, Hall’s work has been produced at acclaimed theatre’s across the nation, bringing her signature style to the forefront of the theatre scene. Her play Hurt Village had its off-broadway premier at the Signature Theatre and starred Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins.

The Women of Mixed Blood's Pussy Valley from Mixed Blood Theatre on Vimeo.

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Award Nominations

Cynthia Erivo Nominated for BAFTA’s Rising Star Award

Drew Shade

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Cynthia Erivo at Opening Night of the Color Purple. Photo by Drew Shade

Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award-winning actress, Cynthia Erivo, known for her transformative performance as Celie in the 2015 Broadway revival of The Color Purple is now one of five actors nominated for the British Academy of Film’s 2019 Rising Star Awards.

Most recently seen alongside Viola Davis in Steve McQueen’s Widows, Erivo says:

“I’m ever grateful to BAFTA and the jury panel for nominating me for the 2019 EE Rising Star Award. It means the world to me to be acknowledged by the community that, for most of my life, I’ve known as home. Thank you for this incredible honour.” – Cynthia Erivo

The BAFTA Awards will take place on February 10th.

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Congrats!

Get Your War Clothes On: Billy Porter Energizes in GLAAD Acceptance Speech

Jerrica White

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billy porter

So, I have a question.

In the same line of thought as “innocent until proven guilty,” do we grant the assumption of positive intent in our expectations of our brothers and sister in regards to woke-ness, à la woke until proven problematic?

Now don’t get me wrong, there was no doubt in my heart that Tony and Grammy Award-winner, Billy Porter, was woke. Nope, none. What I wasn’t ready for, was the way he fixed his fingers to pen one of the greatest acceptance speeches of my lifetime, and how he turned the Gospel classic “I Don’t Feel No Ways Tired” into a battle song.

The 28th Annual GLAAD Media Awards honored Billy Porter with the Vito Russo Award, presented to an openly LGBTQ media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality and acceptance.

He started by affirming the room full of members of marginalized communities, with my personal daily mantra: “You are enough. we are enough.”

Since the beginning of time artists are the folks who engage critically and encourage those who think they are powerless to question the status quo.

Brothers and sisters across the room leaned in.

The days of shut up and sing are over.

Alliteration informed and illustrated as Porter preached on remaining “vigilantly visual” as we tell our stories. Acknowledging the reality of our times, he spoke on Number 45:

Where they slipped up this time is in that declaration of war. It’s not only against Black and Brown people and Queer people anymore, it’s against ALL of us. And as a result, the good news is: white folk, and straight folk, and all those fierce women folk, are mad now. And NOW maybe something might get done!

Get. Your. War. Clothes. On.

From slavery to emancipation, to the 13th Amendment, to Jim Crow, to the Civil Rights Movement. From Stonewall to AIDS, to marriage equality— we gotta remember the shoulders who we stand on—the ones who fought and died for those freedoms that we hold so dear. Let’s use these historical strides we’ve made as a nation to empower us as warriors on this battlefield of equality.

Amen.

Until we can figure out how to love one another unconditionally, no one wins. Freedom. Equality. Justice. Have always come at a cost and evidently the always will.

If that’s not the truth.

Stay strong. Stay vigilante. Stay visible. Stay hopeful. Stay focused. Be brave. Be fierce.

Resist.

RESIST.

RESIST.

RESIST.

For a full list of this year’s winners, honorees, and guests, visit GLAAD.

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