I vote that the 1985 hit song “Sisters are Doin’ it for Themselves” by Annie Lennox & Aretha Franklin officially become the theme for Women’s History Month every March. I learned this month at a public program entitled “Black Female Voice in Theater” sponsored by Victory Gardens Theater that “sisters” like Nambi Kelley, Gloria Bond-Clunie, Dawn Jones, and Lydia Diamond have been and are creating some amazing plays. They enlightened the audience of eager playwrights and lovers of plays that play writing chose them and they write out of a “need to fill a hole.” They are more interested in writing about our shared humanity with others and not necessarily about the color of one’s skin or gender. I got the feeling that the responsibility to tell our stories as a race is one they feel less obligated to tell, but if they choose to, it is done with honor and truth.
As a play wright, I too am motivated to create plays that move the discussion of race out of the muck of oppression and “woest me” attitude. I love the richness of our race, the strength of our women, the color of our language, and the endless possibilities of what we can imagine and achieve. It’s universal, and Lennox & Franklin capture this tie that binds in this rhythmic and empowering song. We are sisters creating new narratives for larger and more diverse audiences and doin’ it for ourselves.