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Ngozi Anyanwu Wins Inaugural Humanitas CTG Playwriting Prize

Broadway Black

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Actress and emerging playwright Ngozi Anyanwu recently won first place for the inaugural Humanitas/Center Theatre Group (CTG) Playwriting Prize for her play Good Grief. The award is presented to the best new unproduced play written by a Southern California-based writer and comes with a cash prize of $5,000.

Anyanwu’s play follows the story of “Nkechi,” or “N” a first generation Nigerian girl, and her misadventures of first love, loss, and the people, including her childhood best friend, her brother the ghetto philosopher, and her Nigerian immigrated parents who “try and help her get over it, around it and through it.” Good Grief is Anyanwu’s first play, which she started writing while still a student at the University of California-San Diego. In a recent statement she said, “I’m excited for the support that an institution can bring, and I’m interested in seeing what that means for the play.”

Anyanwu is an actress, writer, and producer who received an MFA in acting from the University of California-San Diego. She is the founder of the 1st Generation Nigerian Project, where she served as artistic director. Anyanwu is currently the co-artistic director of NOW AFRICA’s Playwrights Festival and a recipient of the Djerassi Artist Residency. She’s also served as a production assistant for the National Black Theatre production of Dead and Breathing.

As part of the prize, Good Grief also will be developed by CTG’s literary staff and presented in staged readings at the Humanitas Play Fest, Celebrating Southern California Playwrights that will run February 12–14.

The second place prize was awarded to Dan O’Brien and third place was Louisa Hill who both received $2,000. O’Brien was recognized for his play, The House in Scarsdale and Hill received the award for her play, Lord of the Underworld’s Home for Unwed Mothers.

The winner and two runners-up will also be announced at the annual Humanitas Prize ceremony on Thursday, February 11, 2016, at the Directors Guild.

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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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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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