Black women on a mission to make the Oscars (and theater) not so White

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Katori Hall Photo credit: BOLD

Destinee Rea and Tia DeShazor met at an audition filled with black women, who, though competing for the same role, were supportive of each other. The women decided to transport that energy by creating BOLD.

“We want to break down the scarcity mentality and to really be one-another’s allies,” explained co-founder DeShazor. The women and their organization are doing more than that.

BOLD provides a safe place for writers and choreographers to workshop new material. They also host monthly panels to discuss issues unique to Black women in the performing arts. Their upcoming panel on August 29 was organized with Actors Equity Association.

At The Table is a panel of black women creating change in theatre. In the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the panel will discuss issues of diversity and sexism in the industry. While some of the most successful Broadway plays, including Hamilton, Porgy and Bess, Cats, and A Raisin in the Sun, have featured Black writers and performers, the theater remains very White.

Hoping to impact change, BOLD is bringing together a panel of directors, producers, writers, and actors to share how they pushed through barriers. Here’s a look at some of the panelists.

Katori Hall, Alia Jones-Harvey, Jocelyn Bioh, Camille A. Brown, Kamilah A. Forbes Photo credit: BOLD

Katori Hall’s play The Mountaintop won the 2010 Olivier Award for Best New Play and starred Angela Bassett and Samuel L. Jackson on Broadway.

Alia Jones-Harvey’s past productions include Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof starring James Earl Jones and Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire starring Blair Underwood.

Ghanaian-American writer/performer Jocelyn Bioh of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. She’s also featured in the new Netflix series “The Characters” and guest starred on the FX series “Louie” as well as One Life to Live on ABC.

Camille A. Brown’s work has been commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Philadanco!, Complexions, and Urban Bush Women, among others.

Kamilah A. Forbes is the artistic director of Hi-Arts.

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