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ASU graduate brings 'Black Women Walking' play To Tempe

The play will feature stories about eleven historical Black women

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A display advertising the play "Black Women Walking" is pictured on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, at the New School for the Arts and Academics in Tempe.

February marks the beginning of Black History Month, and the play "Black Women Walking" ventures into the lives of 11 revolutionary women in African American history, celebrating their legacy and achievements.

"Black Women Walking" is an award-winning play that follows historical Black heroines, including figures like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Rosa Parks.

"Black Women Walking" includes visual performances and song and dance with the intention to teach and inspire, said Kevvin Taylor, the play's director and graduate of ASU's Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. Audiences will witness the courage, hardships and brilliance of these Black women and their impact on American history and the civil rights movement.

Taylor said he worked hard to use his platform to shine the spotlight on Black women who changed history. Taylor said the African American history shown in textbooks has been misconstrued and lacks evidence. He wants to create a safe place where people can come and understand Black women's stories. 

“The story is about the power and resilience of the human spirit, which is a characteristic of all people,” Taylor said. 

The play also emphasizes the liberation and empowerment of women. Ruth Alexander plays Marian Anderson, a classical and spirituals singer who is one of the historical women featured in the pay.

Alexander said it is important for younger generations to see strong women who look like them and to see what some of the women went through because of their race. 

“It talks about the women," she said. "It shows the strength that women have, the perseverance, the tolerance of the kind of treatment they received because of their skin color." 

Joi Fletcher, the youngest actress in "Black Women Walking," said the cast has received positive feedback. Younger and older generations alike were moved by their performances and expressed their delight in the play during question and answer sessions, Fletcher said. 

“Some of the greatest responses were from the older generations who were alive during these times," Fletcher said. "Seeing the emotions that they have reliving these parts of their childhood and watching it come to life on stage and highlighting the people who fought for them so that they could go to school and get a job and own a house is very important."

Through "Black Women Walking," Taylor wants to inspire others to fight for what is right and remember the courageous Black women who paved the way. 

Taylor said his time at ASU provided him with support and encouragement from many professors and peers. His first internship, where he gained real-world theater experience, was through ASU.

Taylor said he is proud to use the knowledge he gained at ASU to educate viewers about Black women throughout history. 

“Encourage people to make your own personal journey, and remember the women who made a stand," Taylor said. "Be inspired."

"Black Women Walking" shows from Feb. 6 to 8 in Tempe at the New School for the Arts and Academics. Tickets can be purchased online.  

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