"As a writer, filmmaker, and performer, I am a multidisciplinary storyteller. As such I specialize in literary nonfiction stories, fiction inspired by true-life stories, and fiction inspired by the history of a people. I reflect on memories and intimate moments from my own life and the lives of others to increase visibility of underrepresented groups and to expand empathy.
"My work is especially concerned with the lives of black women and girls and others whose joy, history, and inner life are underexplored in American media and popular art. My work is about truth.
"I hope to tell the truth in a way that does not bow to fear, whether fear of my own thoughts or fear of the thoughts of others, so that I can take life's unsavory bits along with the lovely bits and lay them bare in the openness of the screen, the stage, the page. In so doing I endeavor to turn a particular space in the world into a source of communing, reaching beyond that particular to touch the lives of others."
"For example, I have taken the stories my mother has told me since I was a small child, about her life growing up in rural North Carolina in the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s; about the roots of her love of literature; about getting books from the reading van that librarians would drive up to her family’s remote wooden cabin; about reading from those books to her family of ten sisters and brothers; about finding solace in nature and the arts in the midst of a dirt poor childhood with a heart and eyes seared by the sight and sounds of her father’s brutal abuse of her mother, and I have used her life as a leaping off point to write about a little girl named Mable, a central figure in my story “Just After Supper” about empowerment and strength and finding one’s way through the terrorizing muck of life. My grandfather James became “John” in the telling, and I told of his love of literature and humor and his own sorry childhood and where he went wrong. I wrote that story and then I turned that story into a film, using my own body, my own soul, and my own voice, and my own pain and joy represented as movement to narrate that tale.
"It’s won me some awards, and more importantly, has started conversations about these lives and other lives like them and sparked memories and sharing and even opened some eyes to some things people had not known or had not really thought about. So, that's what I do, I create these stories and moments, and people think about them, let them wander around in their head and do some magic and hopefully some good."