Meet The Playwright Putting Young Women Of Color At The Forefront
The Youth Artist Leadership Summer (YALS) program gives women of color space to grow and develop artistically.
In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, award-winning playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney was concerned that as people were fighting for the rights of young black males, black women were being allowed to fall through the cracks. McCraney stepped up to give black and brown women a more prominent narrative.
The Youth Artist Leadership Summer program nurtures the passions of young, artistic women of color between the ages of 13 and 17. This Miami-centered program provides a space for these women to feel their ideas are valued and to watch their dreams flourish.
"It kept coming back to my head that yes, black men are being targeted by police and racist vigilantes, but nobody's talking about how this is affecting black women, who make less than black men, who can't stand on the corner of Northwest 62nd Avenue and Northwest 22nd Avenue and wait for a bus without getting harassed," he said. "I do know that, as much as their getting that treatment, we need to give them the opposite. They're getting this extremity outside, and then we expect them to flourish somehow, like why don't you pull yourself up by your bootstraps? So for me, it was about trying to give them that same force, that same opportunity."
This free, 3-year program is available for the girls each summer. This inaugural summer, the McCraney has worked with the girls to develop their own adaption of Sophocles' Antigone. Next summer they will reportedly craft 1-person plays and the third summer they will produce their own full-length plays.