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No Two Black Women Are The Same Review

By Ina Ruxandra Bochian

No Two Black Women are the Same is a show written and performed by Asia Martin and Brittani Yawn.  These wonderful young and passionate actresses collaborated because they wanted to create a show that embraced diversity within the black community. Together they formed Moxie Ladies, a comedic sketch duo made up of two talented, beautiful and intelligent women.  Prior to creating this group it seemed nearly impossible for both Marin and Yawn to be featured in the same show considering their respective differences in size and appearance.  While both women are black actresses, it is difficult enough for one black actress to be the star of a show and increasingly more for two.  However, the beauty of collaboration and strong women coming together to celebrate each other’s talents is that women can lift each other up and work together creatively.  

Besides Martin and Yawn, two strong women direct and produce the play.  Director Claudia Wallace is also a Casting Director and Cast Consultant for The Second City Resident Stages and Touring companies.  Additionally, Wallace is an Artistic Consultant and sits on The Second City Executive Committee.  Building her career over the past 20 years, Wallace has worked in several capacities at The Second City.  She is an alumni of Tour Co and the Chicago Mainstage, and works as an actress and facilitator for Second City Works, the Business to Business arm of The Second City.  Furthermore, Wallace is also an accomplished actress who can be seen on TV, film and on stages across the county.  Her range of experience brings a wealth of knowledge to these roles and The Second City is thrilled to have her as part of the team.    

Producer Susana Rodriguez hails from Iowa City, Iowa.  Susana is primarily a visual artist who is working very hard to promote minority women in film as her way of fighting against systematic racism.  Her enthusiasm for helping the advancement of women and minorities is enhanced because of her positive nature and the time she spends basking in the sunlight with her beloved dog, Busta Chops.  By night she is boss lady and oversees the night staff at The Second City.  Because she is so humble, she was secretly surprised and honored when Asia and Brittani asked her to be part of the production.  Oftentimes it takes another woman to recognize that working behind the scenes is not an easy task, but there is strength in unity and we appetite the sunlight when working in the shadows.  

Asia Martin, originally from Washington D.C., moved to Chicago to purse acting and comedy.  After graduating from DePaul’s Theatre School in 2015, Marin has done shows and readings at Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Timeline, Court, The Playground, The Crowd, The Revival, The Annoyance and the Goodman Theatre.  Catch her around town doing stand-up about her cats, partying with her spoken word improv troupe, PREACH, and making funny sketches with Huggable Riot.  Behind her love of the arts stands her mother, Alesha, who she admires and thanks for supporting her pursuit.

Brittani Yawn, a native of Cleveland, OH, graduated from Miami University’s Theatre Department. Among her other credits she’s recently written and performed Huggable Riot’s 12th Revenue Judgmental Institutions at The Annoyance.  You can see her in the Huggable’s Holiday Show coming in November.  Like all other strong women, her support system comes from her family and friends, whom she loves very much.  A fun fact about Yawn is that she also loves 90s music  

Last, but not least, this diverse and wonderful group of women did have a man supporting their show as the music director Tony Belsito.  Belito is a songwriter and multi instrumentalist living and working in Chicago.  He has music directed for various shows at The Second City, and at The Annoyance for Huggable Riot.  His funk rock band, Good Authority, has performed all around Chicago, including JBTV and House of Blues.  His email is belsitotony@gmail.com and he loves to check it every day.  For bookings, reach out to him and show him some love for being such a cool cat and supportive of his female collaborators.  The best encouragement you can give is showing up to The Second City and seeing No Two Black Women Are The Same during the month of December. 

No Two Black Women Are The Same is currently running at The Second City on Mondays at 8:30 pm.  You can still catch this show12/4, 12/11, and 12/18.  Tickets are $13.  As an writer and actress myself, I can really appreciate what these ladies have put together.  

Opening night, my coworker Eric Lockett and I rushed from the set of the FOX TV show Empire to The Second City to support this group of people are very much like us.  We all have a dream and a desire to create something unique, but oftentimes it is difficult to find the right circumstance where we fit the script.  On Empire, Lockett and I have had a variety of featured roles, but getting opportunities for speaking roles on a major network television show is not as streamline as one would expect.   Neither Lockett, nor myself have had the same kind of training and experience as the group who put together this show, but supporting other actors and projects helps us grow as individuals and create a community where we can open ourselves up for more opportunities.  I am primarily a writer who prefers to work on film and television because I feel like I have a better understanding of how to create content in this area, but I have a deep appreciation for those working on stage.  Personally, I find writing and acting for stage a lot more difficult, but attending shows and supporting stage actors gives me something to aspire to. 

No Two Black Women Are The Same posed questions about identity and diversity that I find myself asking.  While the show is about two black women and addresses the misconceptions about black women, all women can relate.  Martin and Yawn created a world where hypothetical questions are asked and answered in a witty and comical way.  They played around with stereotypes about black women and used pop culture to relate to the audience.  There were quite a few parts where I saw myself in these characters and I laughed like I haven’t in a very long time.  The beauty of the show for me is that it is so collaborative and gives women a chance to work together, rather than compete against one another.  Oftentimes the media works extra hard to pin up strong women against each other or portray them very negatively, but a new age has started where strong women are building bridges in the sunlight towards one another.  Those who may feel forgotten in the shadows are brought out to shine and show the best they have to the world.  This new age of media is beautiful and full of possibility and gives us reasons to laugh, cry tears of joy and embrace one another as we rise above the walls of deeply rooted Patriarchy  Two Moxie Ladies are an example of pioneers of this new age and I feel so privileged to see what four women and one man put together as a labor of love.  Hopefully more shows like this will follow and innovative women will be lifted from the shadows to sulk the beautiful rays of the spotlight.  

 

 


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