Last night, I experienced a sensational solo-performance for the first time at The Marsh theater in the Mission. I had walked by the entrance the week before and was intrigued by a poster for Black Virgins are Not For Hipsters and thought it may be worth checking out. After a couple of recommendations from friends and hearing that the performance had been extended until September, there was no question in buying a ticket.
In an interview with SFGate, the actress, Echo Brown, describes her show well in that it gives people a healthy dose of humor while introducing heavy topics and subjects in a different and surprising way in regards to common stereotypes about black women.
After the show, Echo answered questions and hoped that the biggest message the audience should come away with was the understanding of multi-dimensionality of black humanity.
The play was a heavy and honest emotional roller-coaster, there were moments where I couldn’t stop laughing out loud, such as one where Echo claimed:
Dancing is the only place where racial stereo-types are A-OK. 👍
Others gave some revelation and really dug deep into memories I’ve come to experience in the past as a minority. The play was not an attack at what one would think of as a lumbersexual hipster, which Echo confessed are usually
well intentioned, but blissfully unaware of their biases and privilege.
The play reminded me that inferiority within races is very real. It revealed that lighter-skinned, straighter hair, and European features are what are inexplicably coveted in black women. Society perpetuates this by idolizing Beyonce as a “strong black woman.”
Echo is puzzled by this because
The avatar of black woman-hood in America looks like a tan white woman. Light-skinned, European features, and blonde hair.
The theme of gender discrimination was also saddening to me in scenes where Echo described herself as not wanted but fuck-able after being harassed by men of equal color for her darker skin, big nose, and wide face. How could this be a perpetual problem when black men are fighting for their own humanity in the rest of society?
Echo’s performance was a reminder for me that, like her, I’m lucky in being able to escape from toxic communities that trap others from finding the avenues for higher education.
The audience praised Echo’s success but she grounded us by reminding us to get caught up in the hype of success. At the end of the day, when we go home (to a cat, in her case), the only thing that is real is ourselves.
Hola! I’m at ThoughtWorks University in Pune, India as a trainer preparing for our graduates’ sessions beginning tomorrow. I am writing this to have an artifact to go back to and reflect on how I...