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I have fallen in love with the imagination. And if you fall in love with the imagination, you understand that it is a free spirit. It will go anywhere, and it can do anything. - Alice Walker

In a nutshell, who is JaMeeka? The Artist and The Human

  • A baby-sibling; My mama's youngest child. A crying ass, creative ass Cancer born at the end of the ’80s! Outside of theatre, I enjoy partying, getting my nails done, naps, shopping, good food, reading & road trips!

  • Momma to a curious, funny, high-strung, Roblox -playin' affectionate yet often aloof 10-year-old, Aquarius kid who believes in Unicorns and don’t play about her mama.  

  • Lord of the Ring and Hobbit trilogy’s super-fan - like, I could spend an entire Saturday watching the extended editions of each film and it is the best day of my life. 

  • Proud Member of the Beyhive. Beyonce is the GOAT. and I aint gon’ argue with nobody about it. Country Music is my 2nd favorite genre of music. I’m from the South, what can I say?  My favorite artists to listen to typically falls somewhere in sub-genres of hip-hop. 

  • Black people are the source of my inspiration.  I love us in all our kaleidoscopic ways.  We are the currents and currency of culture! Know your worth!

  • I like Shakespeare, a lot, yes. I have a genuine interest in his plays. With his work in the public domain, as an artist, I love the opportunity it offers me to remix, reimagine, and completely change the lens. I love the conversations this exploration can inspire.  I imagine it’s what music artists feel when they get to cover and vocally reimagine and rearrange great songs from the past or by artists they've admired. 

  • Nothing in performance has the ability to remind me of my connection to humanity, the depths of my capacity to emote, feel, and be touched by live theatre, like works by contemporary Black playwrights and new works.  I want to direct more plays by Black playwrights. 

  • I LOVE my family and my home city (Durham, NC) in a very transcendental way. Neither ain’t perfect-sometimes I don’t like either one of them. And yet, everything I am as an artist, a human, a thinker, I owe to them, and to my rearing in the Southern Black church

This is me in a nutshell. more on my origins as an artist below...

Here are some of my best-loved photos that I feel capture the essence of me and folk I love
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In New York, 13ish yrs ago the first time as an adult
Parents at one of my undergraduate performances
That time I tried pink streaks! a vibe
Closing number of Sarafina; sometimes I miss performing.
My big sisters' graduation from Winston Salem State
No place I'd rather B
At a church Ball lol the shawl cracks me up lol
I was an avid reader of the school news paper. lol 12th grade.
That time me and one of my besties ran into Maxine Waters downtown Durham
One of my flames.  I've gotten so much inspiration from my friend, Monet
The dance team at my church. Ages ago.  I was probably 16 here..
Hometown glory. Almost everyone from Durham has a shot in front of this sign lol
Smiling but nervous af to be on WUNC
Undergrad scenic design class
A moment lol
My mom and favorite uncle after a matinee. I love this pic.
Senior year of high school, Durham School of the Arts.  I can remember feeling real cute this day
Obsessed with these reimaginings
throwback 2006. I begged my mama to buy this Wizards jersey for me.  Back when jersey's and jersey d
w| Beatrice Capote, dancer and choreographer and one of my favorite collaborators the night before w
I was very moved when I first saw this image. James Baldwin at a statue of Shakespeare. Two of my fa
Directing an actor for a reading of In Real Life by Charlayne Woodard
Years ago with my baby cousins! They're much older now and keep me in tune with the times
My daughter, at the Eno, one of our most special places! Her spirit really shines here
Midday vibes at Jeddah's tea downtown Durham
A favorite candid of me caught by one of my best friends
On my Birthday last year at the immersive van Gogh exhibit!
Favorite Shakespeare hoodie going to the Lil' Baby concert!
I like to step out sometimes!
Me and Mama in front of the Governors' Mansion in Raleigh right before I was being honored. Forever
My mother and I infront of the NC Governors' Mansion.  She was very proud to be with me this day
Me on a day off! Aaliyah, one of my favorite artist to listen too.
Directing scenes for the Durham150th celebration
My daddy! Dj'ing. His passion.

The Makings of an Artist

my hometown, a scrappy, charming city full of intricate history and secrets, home to some of the most intriguing people with unique stories and sometimes mystery, is going through the stages of "revitalization".  When I was younger my friends and I craved more things to do in the city, often speaking disparagingly, saying how wack and boring it was.  Now the city has much more to offer.  I'm excited about its future and to be a part of its growth yet often find myself frustrated and worried about our economically oppressed as development increases and prices rise -I find myself missing what it used to be. Throughout my entire adult life, I've moved fluidly between loving Durham and hating it, wanting to leave it, then leaving it and longing for it.  Introspection of this tension has resulted in interesting archs' for me that continues to expand moment to moment.  Just like in an enthralling play, our stormy relationship led me to take risks and have to make emboldened choices, like moving to NYC with $1,800 when I was 20, and has ultimately shaped my character and triggered meaningful discovery. 

With my cousins I learned how to use my imagination and to be adventurous - none of our homes were luxurious but we were innovative and could entertain ourselves for hours.  We built forts out of blankets, acted out our perceptions of adult life playing "House" when we'd take on characteristics and mimick adults we knew. We, just like the adults in our lives became experts at resourcing something out of very little. Since my adolescence, I recall being very perplexed by the complex nature of humans, and the curiosity began with the adults in my family. The dynamics of their relationships/interactions - the different tactics used to pursue their wants and needs (from each other and their children) and how they varied based on circumstance or who was in the room; and how completely transformed one could be after buying new outfits and taking a trip to the Beauty World, barbershop or salon.  This directly correlates to how I connect with contextualizing, acting techniques, and my interest in the subterranes of the human heart and mind. 

I woke up to “holy ghost” "spirit-filled" Sunday mornings. It was during Sunday school, through scriptures, where I first became intimately linked to and reflective of text and fascinated with a use of language unique to how I spoke.  Following Sunday School was a soul-stirring charismatic service with a “word” preached by a woman pastor whose robes were museum-worthy. The synergy between her and the piano player/organist accented her movement and amplified her efficiency behind the mic and on her raised pulpit. Her soulful interpretations and rousing delivery of god's word were tailored directly to the needs of her congregation. The impacts were evident when hundreds of people rose to their feet wanting to get saved. The structuring and design of theatre find very similar parallels in churches. From the setup of a central visual focus to the placement of the audience/congregation, elaborate robes; song and dance; programs and committees, and more often than not, they both lean on the community's benevolence to survive.  It's been a while since I've attended church but its linkage to my career path is clear.  Memories of my pastors' ability to stir and ignite with words, even when condemnatory, live among the most masterful I've EVER seen. 

These elements are more than just an external auxiliary of my craft or an entertaining story to share in interviews but are the backbone of my artistic expression and ability to see the value/ imagine art out of/in everyone/thing.  It's given me a unique yet resonant vantage point from which I hope others can also access and relate to acting and dramatic structure,  And it has positioned me to reflect and pushback on current theatrical traditions and conventions that continue to reinforce structural impressions of who/what qualifies as artists| art.  All things considered, my experiential knowledge has only been enriched by the research and scholarship of formally-trained and academically associated practitioners. I share admiration for all the ways that call folks towards this art form.  After all, It was my 8th-grade technical theatre teacher who handed me my first plays- they were Fences by August Wilson; Wedding Band by Alice Childress, and The Second Mrs. Tanqueray by Authur Wing Pinero. He was a gray-bearded white man, but he saw me. And I am grateful. 

Thanks for reading all the way down here. Let's touch base soon!                                                                            

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