Sistas Speak! Review – An Evening Dedicated to Breonna Taylor

Jacquelyn Brown Benefield in "Sistas Speak!" - Photo by Bryan Rasmussen

Hostess Juliette Jeffers has decided to give the Sistas equal time following the successful debut of the Brothas a few weeks ago. Like the earlier show, SISTAS SPEAK! is a potpourri of words, rap, and song – but this time from a talented crew of African-American ladies. Poets, singers, and rappers abound in this online special airing for only one weekend.

Juliette Jeffers – Photo by Bryan Rasmussen

Caribbean-American poet Juliette Jeffers delights the audience with her poignant tribute to her poet father who died in January 2020 – and just managed to miss the pandemic. An actor, writer, director, producer, and teaching artist, Juliette has graced film and television and performed in over 60 national commercials. She spends her free time teaching acting to inmates in correctional facilities in Los Angeles.

Ocea Lei – Photo by Bryan Rasmussen

Poet Ocea Lei is a native Californian raised by her African-American father and Asian mother. She writes and speaks about growing up as a black lesbian in a religious family, as well as her life as a single mother and her experience of being homeless in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, her themes include family stressors and feelings of isolation – but also hopeful moments in her search for unconditional love.

Amara Granderson – Photo by Bryan Rasmussen

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, poet Amara Granderson has appeared on both coasts. With a touch of wit and humor, she outlines the trials and tribulations of being a new driver. Her whimsical Rapunzel has a bit of a problem with that tangled mess of hair. Amara reminds everyone about how risky it is to be a rebellious black woman.

Frexinet Johnson – Photo by Bryan Rasmussen

Actor and rapper Frexinet Johnson has been entertaining professionally since she was 14 years old. She holds a B.A. degree in theater arts and dance – and puts her training to good use. To a compelling beat, she turns her words into song and dance.

Candace Nicholas-Lippman – Photo by Bryan Rasmussen

Candace Nicholas-Lippman Is an actress who artfully harnesses her passion into the spoken word. This past fall, her one woman show, “A Rose Called Candace” made its off-Broadway debut in the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York City. Her simple words become gripping as she wonders if Breonna Taylor said her prayers that fateful night. But Candace also remembers the many black women who have met violent ends – and who could be murdered by a brother at any time.

To close the evening, singer-songwriter Jacquelyn Brown Benefield offers the audience messages of pain and strength wrapped in a lyrical package of style and power. An amalgam of creativity and powerful lungs, Jacquelyn has an upbeat approach. Her message to black women everywhere: “We are enough…we’ll be all right.”

SISTAS SPEAK! live streamed at 7 p.m. (PST) on Saturday, October 10, 2020 and remained available on demand through Monday, October 12, 2020. Tickets for all shows were $15.99 with an 87-cent surcharge. For more information, call the Whitefire Theatre at 818-687-8559 or go online.

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