Featuring the talents of Girl Be Heard, viBe Theater Experience and Urban Word NYC, the evening was made up of skits and songs about the performer’s visions of the future. Much of these visions were drawn from the young women’s past experiences, all of which are rich with diverse backgrounds. The evening was not only entertaining; it was extremely educational.
The evening began with the performers of Girl Be Heard walking onstage from the audience. The pieces were written and performed by Sara Ravid, Melanie Thompson, Sophie Walker, Monica Furman, Melanie David, Aya Abdelaziz, Nykemah Warren, Jai Raphael, Karen Vigo and Dominique Fishback. The young women, who were wearing hoodies, began a fierce stomp-dance performance rapping about the Trayvon Martin case and verdict. Each of the lyrics were packed with meaning and emotion, but two that stuck with me long after the performance were, “Another child is dead/I will never forget,” and “I should be able to wear what I want and not get shot.” The performance, which featured Dominique Fishback performing as Trayvon Martin, also addressed the desensitization of our culture against violence and racism, and the hope that the world will continue to evolve and improve.
vibe Theater Experience featured four young women performing a piece titled Pinata in 4 Parts. Written and performed by London Grant, MJ McPhaul-Holmes, Michelan LeMonier and Cheyenne Deago, the performance was directed by Yana Landowne with Toya Lillard. The piece featured the four women speaking about their pasts and their hopes for the futures, sharing deeply personal and inspiring insights into their lives. One of the lines that resonated with me the most was a young woman saying, “Women have been hindering women since the beginning of time.” I was startled by hearing such an insightful and wise statement from a young woman.
Pinata in 4 Parts offered a moving look into these women’s identities, as well as their insecurities, as one of them shared her experience of being bullied, both by her peers and by herself. This topic, which is all too timely and sad, was very moving to be heard from the stage.
Girl Be Heard took the stage again, each performer giving a personal speech or song. They shared stories about being abandoned by family, about natural disasters destroying their homes and about violence and judgment. The scene ended with a rambunctious stomp dance about “Girl Power.” This phrase, which is so often associated with the Spice Girls, took on an entirely different meaning when being sung by these young women.
Urban Word NYC performed the final series of the evening, featuring pieces written and performed by Ashley August and Katherine George. The performances, which addressed everything from a dead women being found alone in her apartment or comparing the treatment of a missing white child to that of a missing minority child. They also brought up the idea of victim blaming, saying a woman “must have been asking for it” after being abused or abducted, as well as the idea of body shaming a woman by keeping a relationship a secret due to her physical appearance. Each of the scenes was powerfully performed and incredibly moving. The desperate rage that was depicted in each of the performances was thought provoking and needs to be honored.
The performances at The Future Has Spoken inspired so many questions and desires for action and change. One of the many questions asked during the night was, “At what point in time are you taught to be a woman?” Thanks to these brave young women who are not afraid to share their stories and honor the stories of other women, perhaps young girls in the future will have more inspiration and role models as they become women themselves.