I had the pleasure of interviewing Dominique Morisseau, the creative artist (poet, playwright, actress, young adult fiction writer) responsible for Detroit ’67 and Sunset Baby, two plays which brilliantly showcase the stories and narratives of the people with which Dominique is most familiar—African-Americans. As Dominique so aptly phrased it, she writes and is inspired by “the people that have the dirt under their nails” and for those that are “laboring and building up our nation but who may not be given the spotlight.”
Detroit ’67, is currently running in Chicago and tells the tale of how siblings Chelle and her brother Lank negotiate their changing worldviews, their differing opinions on how to run the family business and how to handle a mysterious white woman that enters their lives as their beloved city of Detroit’s history pivots and its landscape unravels in the midst of the Great Rebellion aka The Detroit Riots.
Side note:(I had a chance to see this play and LOVED it when it ran in NYC at the National Black Theatre in Harlem earlier this year!)
Sunset Baby, which premiered in London last year, will begin its run this November in at New York’s Labyrinth Theatre Company. This play shares the love, humanity, and struggle of a former black revolutionary and political prisoner as he attempts to rebuild an estranged relationship with his daughter. The play looks at politics and parenthood and what gets left behind when people are trying to change the world. (Click here for more information on this play.)
In addition to sharing these amazing accomplishments with Fabulous N’ Frugal, Dominique dropped some serious wisdom and nuggets for all of us DreamGirls or DreamGirls-in-Training in pursuit of our “juiciest” lives. Even though Dominique is in her early thirties, I felt like I was sitting at the knee of a woman at least thirty years her senior. The advice is so useful and timeline, I wanted to put it in bullet form.
Give Yourself Permission to be in this World: “If you have a responsibility to explore your gifts and exhaust all of your potential. If you are gifted in creative writing, it is your responsibility to take that gift and explore it as far as it will go and not wait for anyone to tell you that it is okay to do so. You give yourself permission, everyday, to be in this world.”
Be a Hustler: “I am a lot of a hustler… I practice the art of putting it[writing] into others’ hands and laps. I submit [my work] to everything. You get nothing that you don’t go for.
Don’t Spend Too Much Time Worrying About Rejection: “ I don’t spending too much time thinking about rejection. A no leads to a yes. I love what Tonya Pinkins says about rejection, ‘Clearly that was a no for you, not for me.’”
Know Love. “The world is always changing—everything is changing, for sure. What I know for sure is LOVE. For my people. My gender. Youth. My husband. My faith. I know how to give it and receive it. Nothing gets healed in this world without love.”
Be Present. “Consistently be in pursuit and show up. Be present. You are not growing if you are showing up.”