Acting While Black
Submitted by: Ilasiea Gray
Artist's Project Description: This piece was created out of my frustration as not only a Black human, a Black woman, but also as a Black artist. Some of the most racist comments and incidents I have encountered in my life, have been in this industry. All while trying to do my job. As Black women, we are held to such a high standard, as pillars of strength, for being resilient, being Black Girl Magic, yet we are so grossly disrespected. This was also the first time I have ever spoken in a public format about the systemic racism I endured at the largest arts organization in my state, where I worked as an actress and educator for 5 years. This has had a significant impact on my life and in addition to pulling a lawsuit against them (so they wouldnâ€™t try to make me sign an NDA), it was finally my way to lift the heavy burden of silence around what I endured. It is especially relevant as we see many theatres across the country claiming to make the pledge towards â€œanti-racism.â€
Artist's Bio: Ilasiea Gray is an AEA theatre and on-camera actress and arts educator based in Denver, CO. She is a recipient of a True West Award for her impactful work in both and made history in Denver playing Sleeping Beauty as a Black actress. The work she finds most important are social justice pieces and theatre for young audiences. Sheâ€™s currently in the inaugural cohort of an MFA program led by Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.