The Importance of Storytelling

Thespians understand the importance of repetition: in order to know a story you must repeat it. You listen to your favorite song on repeat, we commemorate holidays annually, and children delight to hear their favorite tales over and over.

I find storytelling to be at the utmost importance in measuring the effect and longevity of culture. Wives tales, ghost stories and fairy tales are all reflections of the society in which they take place, in addition to what values are carried through generations. Furthermore, it is because of storytelling that so many industries are able to have widespread success and influence. It is the expression of our legacies, lessons and histories that ensure cultural identity remains intact – akin to passing on our genetic code – because the stories that make up our development can determine what our future will be.

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Sui Generis

In this period of adversity, our country is grappling with anxiety and cross-cultural backlash. Every day our humanity is called into question, lines are drawn, and villains are rebranded. At the center of this percussive dissonance are America’s children. The youth are uniquely situated to bear witness and experience the effects to sociopolitical phenomena such as publicized instances of oppression, mayhem and suicide. This barrage of imagery, coded language, and violence conditions the mind and cuts deep, especially for children of color, as their identities are scrutinized during their development. They are challenged to use their voices while simultaneously germinating their place within society. This process leaves issues unresolved and damages mental health, and with so many communities in turmoil individuals find themselves parroting harmful patterns for survival/satisfaction. Safe spaces are needed.

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See Me, I’m Black

There was a time when, as immigrants, you would take pride in the differences your people added to the idea of what America stood for. As a descendant of slaves, I am proud to know the contributions made to the world as we know it – contributions made by people whose bodies were beaten but whose souls refused to be discounted. It’s our differences that keep us aware of how we all contribute to the “collective”.

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