Kym Whitley challenges the stigma of adoption with ‘Raising Whitley’

Kym Whitley
Kym Whitley

Harlem Arts Alliance Presents: On the “A” w/Souleo

Mother’s Day is meant to celebrate mothers and motherhood but actress and comedienne, Kym Whitley knows that it truly takes a village to raise a child. On her new docu-series, Raising Whitley, she shares her humorous and emotional journey through motherhood with the support of family and friends.

“I hope that this show teaches other single parents to build a village to ask for help,” she says. “So many people are busy working now but we need to go back to the old days when grandma and the neighbors helped raise the children and we were all the better for it.”

Beyond encouraging parents to ask for support, as an adoptive parent, Whitley wants the show to remove any associations of shame surrounding adoption. “In the African-American community we are very hush, hush about things in our life. Once I adopted Joshua so many of my friends that I’ve known for years came out of the woodwork about being adopted too. So I want to raise awareness of adoption and take away the stigma.”

The Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage and Jazzmobile, Inc., in collaboration with Columbia University, have a special treat for all mothers and fathers this week with the Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival. Highlights include, S. Epatha Merkerson’s  staging of Geri Allen & Friends Celebrate the Great Jazz Women of the Apollo; Marc Cary‘s celebration of Abbey Lincoln with Moseka House: The House That Abbey Built; and Columbia University’s Harlem Jazz Shrine Dialogues: Cotton Club in Black & White and more here.  “The Harlem Jazz Shrines Festival provides an essential forum for us to claim and uphold the great musical traditions that were born and nurtured in Harlem and continue to thrive through the talent of both emerging and established artists,” says Patricia Cruz, executive director of Harlem Stage.

The writing style of celebrated author, Walter Mosley has often been compared to jazz and now he will bring that flavor to the stage at the Crossroads Theatre Company. This weekend is the premiere of two one-act plays: Mosley’s White Lilies and the adult comedy The Talk, by France-Luce Benson. Mosley’s story is set in the 1970s and touches on themes of love, faith and forgiveness. During a phone conversation, he shared why the play almost never made it to the stage.

To read the rest of the column please click here.

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