BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play
BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play celebrates the unspoken rhythm and language that Black girls have through Double Dutch, social dances, and hand-clapping games that are contemporary and ancestral. As I began to create the work, I realized that I was exhausted by stereotypes and tropes because, as a Black female director, I battle with them daily. Kyra Gaunt’s book, The Games Black Girls Play, inspired the concept for the work. The word “play” immediately shot out. I started thinking about my childhood and the many games I used to play—Double Dutch, Red light, Green light, Marco Polo—and how it was hard for me to find narratives within the media that showcased Black girls being just that: girls. This instantly resonated and became personal. Who was I before the world defined me? What are the unspoken languages within Black girl culture that are multi-dimensional and have been appropriated and compartmentalized by others? What are the dimensions of Black girl joy that cannot be boxed into a smile or a grimace, but demonstrated in a head tilt, lip smack, hand gesture, and more?
BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play showcases and elevates the rhythms and gestures of childhood play, highlights the musical complexity and composition, and claims them as art. It shows the power of sisterhood and the fact that, as we mature, Black girls still play. It is remembering, conjuring, honoring, and healing. It’s a Black girl’s story through her gaze. This work is a gift to myself and Black girls everywhere.
If our audiences see parts of themselves in our work—their struggles and their joys—regardless of their color, gender, or socioeconomic background, then I know we have done our job.