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“The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls,” by Keli Goff, will open this Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. on the stage at the SC Johnson Golden Rondelle Theater in Racine. The theater is located at 1525 Howe St. in Racine.

There are only two performances scheduled for this show. The second is Sunday, Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. Tickets are free and can be ordered on the Golden Rondelle Theater website.

“The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls”
The cast assembled at the Golden Rondelle – Photo courtesy of Olivia Turquoise

Utilizing monologues and short skits along with a “stage reading” style of performance, this show explores the world of unforgettable moments between Black women, their hair, and the cultures that influence – and sometimes hinder – them. There are ample opportunities for laughter as well as more serious tones throughout the show.

After the show, there will be a talk-back session with the director and actors where people can explore more of the world of crowns, kinks and curls. People can also learn about the production process and even how they can become involved in future productions during this time.

The cast of “The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls”

Directed by Olivia Turquoise, “The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls” is comprised of a cast of 13 women. Some cast members are not strangers to the stage while others are making their debut in the world of theatre and performing arts.

One thing is clear: this cast has come together with a united goal of enlightening others about the special relationship Black women have with their hair; the triumphs and the seemingly endless battles as well.

Cast members include:

  • Danita Graham
  • Twyla Clark
  • Yolanda George
  • Kenyatta Turner
  • Tamara Swanson
  • S. Denise Martin
  • Victoria Timmons
  • Shamekia Harrell
  • Kelsey Harris
  • Ida Love
  • Rashandra Luckett
  • Tanya Jackson
  • Samantha Collier
“The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls”
Kelsey Harris, Olivia Turquoise, Samantha Collier, and Ida Love – Photo courtesy of Olivia Turquoise
“The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls”
Kelsey Harris, Yolanda George and Victoria Timmons – Photo courtesy of Olivia Turquoise
“The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls”
The cast at read-through – Photo courtesy of Olivia Turquoise
“The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls”
The cast at read-through – Photo courtesy of Olivia Turquoise

Her directorial debut

Turquoise has been involved in the theatre world throughout her life, and while this show will be her very first directorship, she already knows that this is what she wants to do on a larger scale. She especially sees the need for creating a space in the performing arts sector that is special to those included in the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) communities.

As this show is her first, Turquoise decided on a low-profile approach to how she set her stage. She went with a “stage reading” style, in which the actors are typically seated and read the show from their scripts, however, this show will be a bit closer to a main stage performance in that the cast will have their lines all memorized (or, “off book” as it is known in the theatre world). The set is minimal and the costumes are contemporary clothing.

When asked about how she felt it was shaping up, Turquoise responded with true excitement matched with humility.

“I said I would just put my toe in and see how that goes,” said Turquoise.

She said she was expecting to perform the show to around 50 people or so, and just have a good time with it while learning the duties of being a director. However, when she checked on ticket distribution, she found that over 300 had been reserved so far with two weeks still to go before opening night.

When she isn’t pursuing this new passion, Turquoise keeps very busy with her business, Resilient by Design Healing and Consulting. She has been operating for five years now and offers alternative ways for people to experience healing. In a way, “The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls” has offered participants an untraditional space for healing through its production time. The hope is that even those in the audience will be empowered to find healing on their level through the show.

“The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls”
Twyla Clark – Photo courtesy of Olivia Turquoise
“The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls”
Kenyatta Turner – Photo courtesy of Olivia Turquoise
“The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls”
Denise Martin – Photo courtesy of Olivia Turquoise

It takes a village

In order to get started, Turquoise turned to several leaders in the Racine community for guidance, support and expertise. First, she needed rehearsal space. Scott Terry, owner of the Mahogany Gallery, offered space up for rehearsals, as did The Branch at 1501.

The Black Arts Council is sponsoring the production, and of course, SC Johnson has offered the theatre inside the Golden Rondelle and tech support for no cost as well. Catina Cole offered support from the MPower Theater Group. Cole founded the group for the purpose of serving underrepresented communities as well as offering opportunities to empower survivors with a positive experience in performance art.

Something bigger

The nature of “The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls” will allow for laughs as well as more serious moments. History will be taught through monologues and skits that many people may not be aware of, especially for those who may not have grown up in a culturally diverse area.

For generations, men and women of color have dealt with discrimination over their natural hair. It is even outlawed in some areas or within some establishments for Black people to wear their hair in its natural state. Sadly, there are countless stories of people being treated poorly, rejected, or penalized because of the hair that naturally grows on their heads.

The CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” is a law created in 2019 that prohibits race-based hair discrimination, which includes the denial of employment and educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles including braids, locs, twists or bantu knots, according to the Crown Coalition.

The CROWN Coalition is an alliance of organizations, including founding members Dove, National Urban League, Color Of Change, and Western Center on Law and Poverty, that is dedicated to the advancement of anti-discrimination legislation across the United States. With the help of a diverse array of organizations in the social justice, business, legal, and education sectors, the CROWN Coalition has had tremendous success elevating the public narrative around this important issue and inspiring a movement to end hair bias and discrimination.

The Crown Act website

“The Glorious World of Crowns, Kinks and Curls” is a fantastic compliment to the CROWN Act, and raising awareness of inequities even as seemingly benign as how a person wears their hair has made great strides for people who have been marginalized for such things. Make an effort to go see this show; you may laugh, you may cry, you may learn something. Most of all, you will see a talented group of humans working together for the common good.

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