Ain't I A Woman

Audience Members Observe the Plight of History-Making Women with Stage Production

Shinnerrie Jackson, a skilled theatre actress currently residing in Jacksonville, Florida, recently summed up the lives of four remarkable and historic African American women in the musical stage play “Ain’t I a Woman.”

Audience Members Observe the Plight of History-Making Women with Stage Production

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4057 - Melody Dixon

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Thu Mar 28, 2019

Ain't I A Woman

Shinnerrie Jackson, a skilled theatre actress currently residing in Jacksonville, Florida, recently summed up the lives of four remarkable and historic African American women in the musical stage play “Ain’t I a Woman.”

Split into three parts, the one-woman show sent laughter through the audience. There was also thought-provoking silence in the crowd between the gripping scenes.

Jackson stood in the foreground of various atmospheric settings created by the talent of the performers to play the role of Clementine Hunter, Zora Neale Hurston, Sojourner Truth and Fannie Lou Hamer. The production is a condensed version of an original stage adaptation by director Akin Babatunde. It was inspired by a speech that women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth gave at an 1851 women’s convention in Akron, Ohio.

The play, backed by instrumentation, featured a few vocal numbers from Jackson and several selections from a trio of musicians from the Core Ensemble.

In a Q-and-A with the Core Ensemble performers immediately following the play, Jackson went into detail about the process of preparing to put on a production.

Jackson told the audience she started acting in kindergarten and participated in a number of plays during grade school. She only viewed singing and acting as hobbies at first.

“Once I did an internship at a professional theatre in my town which was Daytona Beach and that’s when I was surrounded by actors who had a career,” she said.

“They really taught me that you can create a life acting in the American Regional Theater, touring and educational theatre…My longevity, I think, is due to my schooling.”

Ain't I A WomanMusical accompaniment, which included bluesy, jazzy and traditional tunes pulling from a diverse group of musicians, came from an electric cello played by Julia Henderson, pianist Yoon Lee and percussion instruments, including the snare drum and vibraphone, played by the producer Michael Parola.

“We believe strongly that diversity is a wonderful thing,” Parola said. “The music is interesting because it’s not really specific to the time frame.”

He pointed out that the first part of the play set in 1934 in New York City, titled “A Party for Zora Neale Hurston,” is complimented with a selection composed by Max Roach in the 1960s.

“It comes from that idea of celebrating diversity and strong women who, in their own way, had incredible strength and determination,” he added.

The production was sponsored by Coahoma’s Lyceum committee.