Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Changing Perceptions Theatre Company Celebrated the birthdays of Lorraine Hansberry & Malcolm X at The Langston Hughes House in Harlem on May 19th, 2017!

It was definitely an honor to get a call from Shaun Neblett, founder and director of Changing Perceptions Theatre Company, asking if I'd write a monologue for the annual birthday party for Lorraine Hansberry and Malcolm X at the Langston Hughes House in Harlem. Both Lorraine and Malcolm have been inspiration, influencing my walk on this road. I keep a portrait of Malcolm in my foyer; my father painted it in 1969. And I have this dope memory of reading his speeches from the By Any Means Necessary collection purchased at DC's Pyramid Book Store when I was 17 years old, staying up late at night before school just to gain deeper understanding of my place in the world through Malcolm's vision. But I selected Lorraine's words for my writing inspiration this time around, because I have often wondered what she would have written, what she would have had to say, what she would advise in these chaotic times. I did not get a speech or letter to work from. Instead, I had her musings from private notes, a list of "likes" and "regrets." I was moved by the intense loneliness, passion, and commitment in her personal thoughts, a woman holding intense love for her craft, community, and self, even through the contradictions. I found a beautiful woman in the midst of becoming ... And, to get to share work at the Langston Hughes House - me, a woman who grew up reading Langston's Jesse B. Simple stories with my dad on Sunday drives through the city? Well, that is just all the goodness. Right on time.
 Celebrating the birthdays of Lorraine Hansberry and Malcolm X at the Langston Hughes House!
 Kymbali Craig performs SPARROW by Nina Angela Mercer, a monologue inspired by Lorraine Hansberry's notes archived at The Schomburg Center.
 Kymbali Craig in SPARROW, a monologue by Nina Angela Mercer
 Packed house!

Thursday, March 16, 2017


I got a text message from my dear sister in January, asking me to join a very important call to think about how to sustain our movement against the culture of violence and inhumanity that the current administration wears as its emblem and boots. She felt an urgent need for us to dig deep into our ancestral traditions to harness a force transcending divisions, especially because the current administration is determined to use religion as an incendiary threat, sparking fear, and informing travel, immigration, policing, and foreign policy. We must fight this.

That call became a national #blacklivesmatter interfaith action for #sacredresistance. We've been in deep conversation to hold space and welcome people of all faiths, religions, and spiritual practices, as well as those who do not claim a particular faith but are still deeply rooted in the practice of social justice and human rights rooted in love. Join us on April 1st for #sacredresistance at Malcom X Park/Meridian Hill Park at 11am for drumming, song, meditation, poetry, prayer, dance, and resistance. Satellite actions in your city. And, for those able to begin our vigil through fasting and/or meditation, we will start as early as midnight that day. Location for midnight gathering TBA. More details at www.sacredresist.org See you on the 1st! #chantdownbabylon #sacredresist #blacklivesmatter

Sunday, October 2, 2016

An August Occasion at Howard University

I am looking forward to presenting a paper for the August Wilson Conference at Howard University this month. I have been deeply inspired by Wilson's work since seeing Joe Turner's Come and Gone at Arena Stage when I was in junior high school in DC. I did not know that I would be moved to write plays years later then. But Wilson's rare gift for blues poetics and story-telling struck me in an unforgettable way in the dark house of the theater. I actually went into labor with my first daughter while listening to August Wilson speak about Seven Guitars at Howard University back in 1995. I didn't know I was in labor at the time, but it became very apparent later, after hanging out at a music studio into the wee morning hours. It's all intertwined. It has been a precarious alignment at times, but it has always made sense, if you know how funk makes sense, and if you know how blues makes all the sense, and the way life does if you choose that dance. And, of course, it's always special to return to HU - my alma mater, my former place of employment, the ground that knows every aspect of how my feet fall while walking. If you're in the area, come through ...

Monday, August 29, 2016

Video footage of ITAGUA MEJI: A ROAD & A PRAYER and trailer for GYPSY & THE BULLY DOOR

ITAGUA MEJI: A Road and A Prayer by Nina Angela Mercer, featuring Audrey Hailes as Aisha with Kimani Fowlin as Ori. Directed by Maya James with choreography by Kimani Fowlin. Percussion by Chris White.

Link to raw footage below ... This performance happened at Rutgers University-New Brunswick in Sept 2014. The choreopoem started outside. The audience followed the performers into the theater in a processional. The footage begins as the procession enters the theater.

ITAGUA MEJI link here:


And check out the video trailer for GYPSY & THE BULLY DOOR by Nina Angela Mercer. On camera and editing, Rachel Eliza Griffiths. Choreography by Kimani Fowlin. Featuring Dameka Hayes and Kimani Fowlin in video performance with Nina Angela Mercer giving Voice to her own words. This trailer was inspired by the full play, GYPSY & THE BULLY DOOR by Nina Angela Mercer, as it appeared at Dumbo Sky in Oct 2013 with Ebony Noelle Golden directing.

GYPSY & THE BULLY DOOR vid trailer:

Friday, August 19, 2016

I am full with the deepest inspiration. Why? Because this July I joined a collective of Black women artists and cultural workers to co-birth Black Women Artists for Black Lives Matter. Simone Leigh, the brilliant Artist in Residence at The New Museum, generously opened up her residency to all of us. She has made it possible for us to build this collective action as an addition to her exhibition, The Waiting Room. And we are definitely making strong medicine, or as some of us say, "That Good Good."

Because ...

this July 2016 was a time of continued rage, deep sadness, and absolute frustration as our minds and souls rocked in response to state sanctioned violence against Black lives again. It was also a time for continued love and organizing for justice. What I could not have known was that this intense love for community would bring so many beautiful folk together in this way. But now I do know through experiencing it. And we want you to share in our offering Thursday, September 1st from 4:30pm to 8:30pm at The New Museum in NYC. RSVP at the link below. Thanks to the New Museum for supporting us with such integrity and vision!