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What happens when an eccentric, outspoken, freethinking, conscious woman is raised in the south? Well, outside of being targeted, labeled “different” and being completely misunderstood by men, she also learns how to tell stories and put on shows creating characters based on the different people; ideas and points-of-views that have shaped and influenced her life and journey of trying to figure out who the hell she is.
The People Inside My Head took a lot twists and turns to come to life. Personally and professionally, a metamorphosis had started in my life with the destination UNKNOWN. It started in 2010 when my nephew was just making a dent on the local hip-hop scene in Memphis, TN. He and my sister, who is a singer, would go to many of the poetry spots to perform and sometimes I would go out to see them.
It had been a while since I had done anything creatively and a part of me felt dead inside. I had been working Tricks nonstop – working to get it seen, working to get it distributed, working to get it promoted so that the first two elements could even have a chance of materializing and I was exhausted. It didn’t dawn on me how burnt out and exhausted I had become. I was still mourning the most painful and jagged breakup I had ever gone through coupled with picking up the pieces of the bankruptcy I had just filed when my real estate business went belly up after the market crash of 2008.
My self-worth stock was at an all-time low and was headed into an even deeper recession. Yet, thoughts of my nephew performing bombarded me like a stampede. Images of he and other artists showcasing their talents to a room full of people who were hungry for something different and craved freedom of expression popped up in my head many times a day. The ruminating and constant penetrating thoughts had finally conceived a vast embryo of ideas and I began to experience the symptoms of its existence. I began to look forward to going to more spoken word/poetry events to support my nephew, and eventually, he would work his way up in the hip-hop hierarchy of Memphis to become one of its elite members. And I would find myself at most of his shows providing videography services and promotional support.
Around the same time, a colleague of mine had started working on his one-man show. We would often talk about the works of one-man/one-woman show veteran heavy weights like John Leguizamo and Whoopi Goldberg. A thought then came to me, “I would love to put on a one-woman show to showcase what I can do and to tell the kinds of stories I want to tell.” That’s when the light bulb lit up.
Something had started to buzz, but it hadn’t exactly caught on fire. I was still attending spoken word/poetry spots and as I watched artists get up and perform their pieces, I remembered the days I use to perform my host of monologues, plays, poetry, music and I wanted so badly to do it again, I just really didn’t know how. There were so many ideas I had, so much I wanted to say, so much I had learned; but to produce another film would take a minimum of another year and this time, I didn’t have the money like I initially did, so I had to find another way until the stars realigned in my favor.
Sure, I knew I could audition for some local plays, maybe book some and that’s what I started doing. However, I wanted something more than that. I didn’t want acting to be my hobby or side career anymore, I wanted it to be what I did full time. I didn’t want writing to be something I did to pass away the time or only be reserved for angry rants to spill out in my diary, I wanted to get my ideas out to the world and I wanted them to be heard and I wanted them to be embraced. I wanted my career to grow and take me somewhere.
And that’s when it hit me – why not take my stories and put them into poetic monologues and sketches along with playing diverse characters? This wasn’t a foreign concept to me, it was basically what I did in high school when I competed in the Dramatic Arts competitions, the place where I trained and went up against some of the strongest and most talented actors in Tennessee…and won multiple times. Something inside of me jumped with excitement. I’ve always written poetry, plays, short stories, novels and full-length screenplays, so why not take matters that were important to me and put them in the form of poetic monologues with a twist? Outside of the poetic element, I wasn’t sure what the twist could be to make it standout. I then began producing Youtube Videos for my sister and that’s when it all became clear, that’s when I figured out my twist.
As I incubated what would eventually become The People Inside My Head, I knew that it had to serve four purposes: it needed to be able to turn over quickly, be marketable, be published on the web to grow my audience and it needed to allow me assert who I was.
I knew I didn’t want it to be preachy or full of flat line first-person monologues either. It needed to be entertaining as well as show my range as an actor and writer. So instead of me simply telling stories about my life, I decided to incorporate short story ideas as well. Finally, a platform where not only could I tell the stories I wanted to tell, but I could do it with the freedom to experiment with different characters. It was like playing a sophisticated version of “pretend.”
The People Inside My Head is a sketch “dramedy” that explores the diverse characters, perceptions, trials and triumphs of the life and times of an offbeat woman who is finding her own rhythm by marching to the beat of a different drum.