This week, on the eve of the 2020 U.S elections, I catch up with the wonderful Nafessa Monroe, actor, poet, writer. Nafeesa speaks about the global interest in the results of the election “it gives me hope that there are people all over the world just as concerned about the state of the U.S as Americans are”
Nafeesa speaks about her journey and experiences as a young actor of mixed heritage in L.A, with all the challenges and opportunities which came her way. She tells the story of Olympia Dukakis asking her “why aren’t you living in new York? If you need help, I'll help you;” after they did a play together and her subsequent move to New York and career as a theatre actor. We speak about the power of diverse casting on storytelling, and her own company “Classics in Colour” which was “founded on inclusion”
We talk also about the importance of thanking and remembering our ancestors, about art and activism, and about the hope found in the beautiful art, craft and philosophy of Japanese kintsugi.
Lastly, we discuss the previous election, the Trump presidency and the despair and hope Nafeesa experienced as a result . She says “ I remember vividly the loss of hope, and the disbelief that this was even possible in our world” and how it is this time around on the eve of the 2020 election
“I’m just as scared, I have all the fear. I know I have done what I have the power to do, which is to vote, and in the next four years I have to do more with the power I have… to activate my arts… to show up and listen.., no matter what there is a lot of work to be done…. so how do we move forward together now?”
We finish on discussing a utopian America, and Nafeesa advises to start moving in this direction by choosing or seeking healing in some way.
You can contact Nafeesa here:
Things we referenced and spoke about can be found here:
Wonderful project about people with seemingly irreconcilable differences talking and listening. https://wearenotdivided.reasonstobecheerful.world
The Green Book trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QkZxoko_HC0
Southern law poverty centre (identifying hate groups in U.S) https://www.splcenter.org
My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathways to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies is by Resmaa Menakem
Info about Kintsugi can be found here
My book How To Be Hopeful is out NOW! and can be found in all the usual places
Love Bernadette x