Words from Shawn…
WOW!! I can’t believe we’re wrapping up our 2nd year of publishing this newsletter. I want to thank Octavia and her staff for keeping me on track and focused. Thank you to everyone for your submission of bios, fliers, reviews, comments, and events. The Lord willing, I will see quite a few of you at my December 10 birthday party and hopefully in the new year. Let’s commit to being more focused and driven to get to the next level in 2012. May God continue to bless and keep you.
Keep Drama in Your Life,
BTW – I’m still seeking gainful employment, so if you hear of something, keep me in mind. And yes, I know Lord will continue to provide.
Actress of the Season…Chiquetta Bunts
Chiquetta Bunts, a native of Muskegon, Michigan started singing in the church choir at the tender age of five. When she received her first lead at nine, she was convinced that God wanted her to sing. She was later introduced to dance and acting, making her a triple threat. Chiquetta has demonstrated her talents in dance recitals, church productions and community theater productions (Auntie Ronnie and I’m in Love with a Stripper). She has also sung with female Christian group, Nu Luv and starred as Dorothy in The Wiz. Chiquetta’s goal in life is to be a blessing to others by giving the very best of her talents.
Producer of the Season-Paul Johnson, Jr.
Playwright, actor, singer, and master barber – Paul Johnson, Jr. is a man of many talents. Paul has always had a passion for the arts. “At the age of eight my dad gave me a 4-track recorder and a small keyboard. At that moment I was convinced that I’d be doing music all my life. That was the platform.” At 13, Paul became a youth praise leader at Evangel Ministries. He also joined the drama and theatre ministries. Paul participated in Redford High School’s ensemble, male vocal and concert choirs. Paul studied business at Wayne State University and has become an entrepreneur. He is the founder of Uncle Pauly Productions and 313 Soul Entertainment. Both ventures are geared toward revitalizing music and theatre in Detroit. As an actor, Paul has landed roles in Kwame a River, Life of Sam, Boss Lady, and many more. As a playwright, he has written multiple plays including A Distant Past, Young Boys, and Drastic Measures. If interested in appearing in a production, please send your headshot and bio to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Producer of the Season…Janaya Black
Janaya Black is a woman who thrives in the capacity of wearing many hats. A passionate writer at heart, she seamlessly blends her creative drive and aspirations into the many other facets that make up her impressive resume. In 2004, Janaya wrote and published her first fiction novelThe Breaking Point, followed by her second release in Novmeber 2006, As Told by the Other Woman, and the third and final installment of the “Prison Chronicles” series Beautiful Rage: The Break of Dawn in 2008.
With the release of her first book followed the spark that ignited her love for the art of independent filmmaking. After teaming with her husband Rockey Black, president of Goldline Films, to create trailer for The Breaking Point, she then went on to write, direct and produce four other short film projects, released her first feature length film, Till Death…Do Us Part to DVD in 2009, and is now in production for a comedy called Why Do Men Cheat that is scheduled to be released later this year.
Janaya serves as President/CEO of Black-Smith Enterprises, which is an entertainment infrastructure she created to house all her creative projects. Black-Smith Enterprises is currently in negotiations to turn The Breaking Point into a feature length film, among several other projects that are in development. She is also a managing partner and founder of the Trinity Film Coalition, which is a Michigan-based film organization that is dedicated to the advancement of independent film.
Janaya is the proud mother of two beautiful children, a community advocate and in her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, playing sports, and reading. For more information about Janaya Black, please visit www.black-smithenterprises.com,www.youtube.com/jblack317, www.myspace.com/thebreakingpointmovie, andwww.trinityfilmcoalition.com.
Actress of the Season…Sarah Wilder
Sarah Wilder is a native of Detroit, Michigan who has been diligently working in the theatre community since her early 20s. She has performed with various theatre companies that include: Parables Entertainment, Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company, Matrix Theatre Company, and the Farmington Barn Players. In addition to acting on stage, Sarah created The Curve Project, a theatrical experiment focused on celebrating women of all sizes. This groundbreaking play, which featured female writers from all over the nation, was part of her final Masters of Arts degree project at Wayne State University to improve the quality of roles of plus size women in the entertainment industry. Her second play, Girls Like Us, was featured in the 2010 Magenta Giraffe Theatre Company’s Second Annual Staged Reading Festival and as part of the New Playwright Series for The New Theatre Project in Ann Arbor. While Sarah has many credits on stage, off stage and in film, her current role is in a cutting edge web series entitled Aliah as the main character’s sister, Ayo. This web series from Commonality Productions is best described as, “…a family-orientated show about an American Muslim living in post 9/11 America forced to make life choices.” Sarah’s commitment to the development of quality entertainment has motivated others to realize the strength and potential within our own communities.
Actress of the Season…Johanna Lidgren
Johanna Lidgren is a 25 year old native of Sweden. She has been living in Detroit for close to three years and has acquired a great appreciation for the city. All forms of art have always interested her, however, Johanna has found theater to be her latest niche. She recently participated in the 2011 Vagina Monologues presentation (My Vagina is My Village), produced by Shawn P. Entertainment and radio personality, Frankie Darcell as well as the stage play Mother Church (Shawn P. Entertainment).
Book Review: In The Pink
(A Woman’s Guide to Being a Girl) by Ramona Prater
I had the privilege of watching Ramona Prater bring the words of her book to life when I heard her speak at an event a few months ago. What stood out to me was that she had a very different view point than that which we are use to hearing when it comes to women. The common message is usually that women should be strong and independent. While her book doesn’t necessarily say that this way of thinking is wrong, it definitely shakes up the idea by addressing some very powerful truths.
It all boils down to us being honest with ourselves. Many of us say we don’t need a man, and technically this may be true, but at the end of the day, most of us want a man, want a healthy relationship and want a marriage that works.
Throughout the book there are several instances where she forces us to be honest with ourselves by making bold statements and observations about our behaviors and choices as women. The first statement that caught my attention in her speech and then again in her book was when she said, quite simply, “…No man wants…another man.” This statement was in reference to the idea that feminine freedom means that we are so strong and powerful that we don’t need a man, yet we continue to date men while simultaneously asserting these beliefs. A partnership is all about balance and while two people in a relationship may not necessarily need one another to survive, it’s definitely nice to share your life with someone that adds value to it.
In her chapter entitled, “Damsels in Distress” Ramona makes mention of something that several people think, but rarely say, “There are women who have decided on their own that they will take on ‘motherhood’ without the consent of a man, you know who you are…and you should be ashamed of yourself.” This bold statement brings light to a situation where women often take on the role of victim. Her words almost dare them instead to take responsibility for their choices. This is just one of several examples where she calls us out on our stuff.
The two quotes that I’ve shared with you are merely a taste of how In the Pink is a feisty, daring and powerful read. Ramona Prater is not afraid to make bold and powerful statements of truth that make us really take inventory of what it means to be a woman. It makes me think of something that I heard someone say in a relationship workshop that I’ll never forget. The instructor said something to the effect, “All men aren’t dogs. If we’ve been in several relationships that have failed, we are the only common denominator in all of those relationships. So maybe it’s time to take a look at ourselves.”
This is exactly what Ms. Prater’s book does…she forces us to take an honest look at ourselves as women. As you read her book you will be challenged to think about what you really want, what you really need and what you really need to do to get those things. She explores the power of practicing silence, our tendency to enable our sons to the point where they can’t reach their full potential as men, submission and self-care.
This is a quick read, yet powerful book that I think all women should read. Whether you agree or disagree with her way of thinking, this work is thought-provoking and would make for a great catalyst for discussion among women, as well as between men and women thus making it an excellent book club selection.
For more information, or to purchase the book, visit InThePinkBook.com. Review courtesy of Monica Marie Jones (www.monicamariesjones.com) for Motown Writers Network.
I Said It, Now What – Year End Review
Well fellow Smurfs, if the calendar is any indication, we are fastly approaching the close of another theater season and year. But what a ride it has been, wouldn’t you agree? This year, I was blessed to have experienced a number of stage productions: some well-written, some well-performed, and some that needed a little work. But that’s neither here nor there because our productions, much like ourselves, are all works in progress.
I reminence over 2011 and I am reminded of various life lessons. For instance Cheatersengage in Affairs and become Entangled in all kinds of dangerous Deception that can lead to sliced tires and broken windows. I have also learned that if I’m not careful I might unknowingly invite the Enemy in My House which can contribute to Spirits in My Bedroom. As most of my girlfriends are women of a certain age, we might be consideredCougars with interesting Vagina Monologues of our own – shhh – a lady never tells. It certainly costs to be the Boss Lady which often leads to Drastic Measures in the game ofHustle and Love. It can have you seeking companionship on a Chatline while you Wait for Love. However, if you’re deligent and manage to avoid being Tainted by all the distractions of living, it’s possible to experience the very best life has to offer. Of course there’s going to be times when you want to declare, “I’ve Been Through Too Much Already” and it feels like The Color Black is the worse thing to be – but I have learned there’s always something to hope for. Maybe it’s the joy in a child’s laughter, the beauty of a rainbow, or the kind words of a friend. To my fellow playwrights, keep writing and keep the faith. In the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors you don’t always win or lose, but if nothing else, the anticipation of the outcome should keep you believing in your dreams.
I look forward to your 2012 stage presentations, TV series, and film projects. We all have greatness on the inside and the best is yet to come, so Til Death Do Us Part, give the world your best, suck everything you can out of life, and keep reaching for the next level!
This article and subsequent reviews are courtesy of a local Detroit playwright aka The Writer.
I hope you can come out and see “Rock,Paper,Scissors”. Marygrove College produces an event titled “Dramafest” where we do staged readings of new & original plays by emerging and established playwrights. Maybe someone you know would be interested. We’re looking for plays for our April Dramafest Program.
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Great newsletter Shawn!
(Actress Sonia Miller)
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Thanks for the newsletter. Very comprehensive, excellent leads.
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