By Dione M. Davis
Last Friday Trey Anthony’s stage play Da Kink in My Hair premiered at the Cobb Energy Centre inviting supporters of theatre and the who’s who of Atlanta for a night to remember. The red carpet included Princess Banton-Lofters, creator of Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kandi Burruss, singer/songwriter and creator of Kandi Factory, Towanda Braxton, singer of Braxton Family Values, Sharlinda Parker and Sabrina Rowe of Big Rich Atlanta, Dice, promotions extraordinaire of La La’s Full Court Life, and Derek J, celebrity hair stylist, just to name a few.
The chilling stage play set in a hair salon called Letty’s, delved into the many masks we wear as black women, giving way to the imperfections we would rather not talk about during our day-to-day lives. Not only did the play shed light on our happiness, but it uttered some of our deepest darkest secrets that need to be told in order for our healing to take place. Overall the entire cast was outstanding and reeled the audience in as the monologues of each woman unfolded. Some obvious twists were expected, however the playwright was able to develop characters who offered much more than what the audience initially received on the surface.
The playwright Trey Anthony, who plays Novelette, gives a praise-worthy performance with her witty sense of humor, wisdom and thick Jamaican accent that you fall in love with. Instantaneously she cultivates a trust as the shop owner and familiarity to the all female cast. It is no wonder that she perfectly crafted the play 13 years ago after doing a self-analysis in the mirror. The original piece began as “I Have a Kink in My hair” and came about after examining her own kinks. She quickly had the epiphany that instead of ironing out the kink, we should embrace it. She helps each of the characters do this eloquently with her magic hands that reveal what each of the clients in her hair salon carry around with them when they sit in her chair.
This idea was brilliant, but what was more moving was Novelette’s ability to serve as a mother figure, a sister, and a friend simultaneously. Some of us have Novelette’s in our lives…the one’s who help us stay focused, encouraged and inspired. The most impressive character was Stacey-Anne, played by actor Thais Francis who was multi-faceted showing a range, going from a sassy young woman, to a revolutionary and then playing a child who gains the strength to fight back after she has been traumatized.
Covering the issue of losing our sons to gun violence, there was a poignant monologue “I Cry for Our Sons” which pays homage to Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Emmett Till and others whose lives were taken violently. Exploring the burdens of immigration, child molestation, lesbian identity, an older woman getting her groove back, the hurt of not being loved by your mother because you are too “black,” to being too pretty and being objectified and rejected by sisters who view you as not “black” enough.
We see what happens through the monologues when the woman who has it all, doesn’t have what matters. We also see a white character expressing the pain of having a bi-racial child and never being accepted or able to love her child unconditionally without shame.
The subtle yet explosive words give the audience a connection to each character that is undeniably powerful. The Color Purple powerful. The Women of Brewster Place powerful. All of the taboos are set free in this gift these amazingly talented women give us to heal our hearts and spirits.
Angie Stone’s character Nia’s truth is perfection as she does her monologue “I’ve Been Wearing Black All My Life. Here were her thoughts on her connection to her character:
The thing that was so gripping to me is I’m a dark skinned woman with full lips. I have all the challenges of being too dark skinned. My parents in real life went to Booker T. Washington High School, which was an all dark skinned school. I was scheduled to go to Booker T. Washington and the year that I went to high school they closed it down and I was forced to go to the all light skinned school. So having to fit in being as outgoing as I wanted to be, I had to work ten times as hard to be accepted…it allows me to tap into that energy that I grew up with and embrace my blackness because in the end I became Angie Stone and I won the world over. It was proof that every young black girl with an aspiration or aspiring to dream big…they can look at my blackness and say if she can do it, then I can do it.
Terri J. Vaughn was the familiar character Sherelle who couldn’t balance it all. Here’s what she had to say about the play:
This piece right here it does it all…it heals, it challenges. Because sometime we need to be challenged and questioned. It brings healing and nurturing. It just answers the call to what art is supposed to do.
Melanie Fiona identified with her character Shannon, whose part was tailored for her. These were her thoughts on her involvement in the play:
It is a very, very, very important piece. If this was a book, everyone should read it…because I was able to sit in the audience years ago and know what it left me with all this time. I still know its importance. It never expires. It’s gonna be something that keeps teaching and keep giving. So we need to make sure that it goes to the highest heights and the farthest ends of this earth it can.
Playwright Trey Anthony plans to do a tour of the play in major cities nationwide in the future. Visit www.dakinkinmyhair.com for more information.
Photo Credit: It’s Robin Lori