My vision for this piece was to take the misogynoir (race-based misogyny) inherent in Shakespeare's text and use it as a base to explore contemporary representations of black womanhood in America, as well as a critique of 'white feminism'. The adaptation was done by myself, a white feminist and director, with Chanté Adams, a black feminist and performer of Cleopatra. The tension inherent in this collaboration was an important part of the piece itself. Live camera was used to draw attention to the construction of image and the question of 'the gaze'. Also included in the piece were documentary interviews with female performers of color. The piece was performed in Studio 201, the School of Drama's off-campus warehouse space.

Presented 17-20 February 2016, Studio 201, Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, Pittsburgh, USA 

A gripping re-imagining of the ancient tale of the powerful Roman general and enchanting Egyptian queen’s doomed love affair and placed it firmly within the racial tensions of present-day America
— The Tartan

CREATIVE TEAM

  • Written by William Shakespeare
  • Adaptation: Eleanor Bishop with Chanté Adams
  • Direction: Eleanor Bishop
  • Performance: Chanté Adams, Henry Ayres-Brown, Joe Essig, Arica Jackson, Wesley T. Jones, Samuel McInerney, Kevin Ramser, Cara Ronzetti
  • Scenic & Costume Design: Lucy Pope
  • Media Design: Kevan Loney
  • Sound Design: Nicholas Erikson
  • Lighting Design: Andrew Hunt
  • Stage Manger: Abby Sorese
  • Dramaturg: Vanessa Frank
  • Production Photography: Louis Stein & Keith Truax 

WORKS CITED 

  • Shakespeare, William. Antony & Cleopatra. 3rd ed., The Arden Shakespeare, 1995.
  • The Federalist. "Mollie Hemingway Talks Beyonce And Feminism On "The Kelly File"". YouTube. August 26. 2014.
  • Fury, Kid, and Crissle. "Who Started From the Bottom?" Audio blog post. The Read. July 23, 2015. 
  • HOT 97. "Azealia Banks Goes Off on TI, Iggy + Black Music Being Smudged Out." YouTube. December 18, 2014.
  • Grim, Ryan. "The Transcript Of Sandra Bland's Arrest Is As Revealing As The Video." The Huffington Post. July 23, 2015. 
  • The New School. "Bell Hooks - Are You Still a Slave? Liberating the Black Female Body | Eugene Lang College." YouTube. May 7, 2014. 

Music tracks

  • Azealia, Iggy. “Iggy Azalea - Fancy (Explicit) ft. Charli XCX”. YouTube. March 4, 2014. 
  • Knowles, Beyoncé. “Beyoncé - Drunk in Love (Explicit) ft. JAY Z”. YouTube. December 16, 2013. 
  • Perry, Katy. “Katy Perry - Teenage Dream (Official)”. YouTube. August 10, 2010. 
  • Swift, Taylor. “Taylor Swift - You Belong With Me”. YouTube. June 16, 2009. 
  • West, Kanye. “POWER (Explicit)”. YouTube. March 16, 2017. 

Further reading

Beyoncé

  • Crosley Coker, Hillary. “What bell hooks Really Means When She Calls Beyoncé a 'Terrorist'”. Jezebel. May 9, 2014.   
  • Gradiant Lair. “Liberating The Black Female Body: Thoughts On The Voices Of bell, Janet, Shola and Marci”. Gradiant Lair. May 7, 2014. 
  • Gradiant Lair. “Beyoncé’s New Self-Titled Album Is A Manifesto of Black Womanhood and Freedom”. Gradiant Lair. December 13, 2013. 
  • Young, Kate. “Est-Ce Que Tu Aimes Le Sexe?: Yoncé Brings Feminism To Its Knees”. BattyMazelle.  December 14, 2013. 
  • “The problem with Beyhive Bottom Bitch Feminism”. Real Colored Girls. December 15, 2013. 

Black female sexuality

  • Adewunmi, Bim. “Black women’s sexuality has always been overpoliced”. The GuardianSeptember 15, 2014. 
  • Durtty Daily. “Kash Doll Talks Rapping & Being Compared to Trina & Respect for The Adult Entertainer”. You Tube. April 18, 2015. 
  • Gradiant Lair, “Black Women and Desire”. Gradiant Lair. February 13, 2013. 
  • Gradiant Lair, “Black Womanhood, Asexuality and Agency ”. Gradiant Lair. January 25, 2014.
  • Gradiant Lair, “A Few Thoughts On Sex Positivity”. Gradiant Lair. October 14, 2013.
  • Patton, Stacy. “Who's Afraid of Black Sexuality?” The Chronicle of Higher Education. December 3, 2012.

Black feminism

  • Hall, Gloria T., Patricia Bell Scott, and Barbara Smith. "Vol. 9.1 - A History of Black Feminism in the U.S." MIT Press 9.1 (n.d.): n. pag. Thistle. 01 Mar. 2016.
  • hooks, bell. "Understanding Patriarchy." (n.d.): n. pag. NO BORDERS. NO BORDERS COLLECTIVE.
  • West, Carolyn M. "Mammy, Sapphire, and Jezebel: Historical Images of Black Women and Their Implications for Psychotherapy." Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training 32.3 (1995): 458-66. Dr. Carolyn West. 

Black Lives Matter - #sayhername #fasttailedgirls

  • Ani, Ivie. “Black lives matter — and that means ALL lives, including those of women and girls”. Women in the World. June 11, 2015. 
  • Chemaly, Soraya . “What Does UVA’s Rape Story Have To Do With The Ferguson Protests?” Role Reboot. December 15, 2014. 
  • Costley-White, Khadijah. “Black And Unarmed: Women And Girls Without Weapons Killed By Law Enforcement”. Role Reboot. August 12, 2014. 
  • Media Matters. “Fox's Megyn Kelly On Teen Violently Manhandled By McKinney Police: "The Girl Was No Saint Either"”. Media Matters. June 8, 2015. 
  • Norman, Natasha. “Here’s what happened at the McKinney in the words of the girl who was body slammed by police”. Mic. June 9, 2015. 
  • Police Center. “Sandra Bland Dashcam Video Released”. YouTube. July 21, 2015. 
  • Susman, Tina. “SayHerName: Female black lives matter too”. LA Times. June 23, 2015. 
  • Shoichet, Catherine, E., Ashley Fantz and Holly Yan, “Texas officer's attorney: He let his emotions get the better of him”. CNNJune 10, 2015. 
  • Testa, Jessica. “How Police Caught The Cop Who Allegedly Sexually Abused Black Women”. Buzzfeed. September 5, 2014. 
  • “#FastTailedGirls: Hashtag has a painful history behind it”. The Grio. December 3, 2013.

Cleopatra (history and popular culture)

  • Schiff, Stacy. Cleopatra: A Life. Black Bay Books, 2011. |
  • “Kim Kardashian Channels Cleopatra For March Issue Of Harper's Bazaar Magazine”. This is 50. February 9, 2011.
  • “Cleopatra: Exotic Queen and Femme Fatale”. Painting History. (n.d.). 

Chante’s sheroes

  • Counter-Racism. “Serena Williams Explains Some Aspects of How Racism (White Supremacy) Works”. YouTube. September 30, 2011.
  • Essence. “Oprah Winfrey Speech | Black Women In Hollywood | ESSENCE”. YouTube. February 20, 2015.
  • KPBS News. “A Conversation With Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Alicia Garza”. YouTube. February 27, 2015.
  • OWN. “Rihanna's Sex Appeal and Relationship with Her Fans | Oprah's Next Chapter | Oprah Winfrey Network”. YouTube. August 20, 2012.
  • TED. “Color blind or color brave? | Mellody Hobson”. YouTube. May 5, 2014.
  • Warren, Rossalyn. “Hear The Epic Speech Nicki Minaj Gives About Sexism In Her Industry (And Donald Trump)” Upworthy. March 14, 2014.
  • “Audre Lorde reads Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power”. YouTube. June 1, 2011.
  • “Eartha Kitt on Love and Compromise”. YouTube. March 20, 2013 .
  • “Michelle Obama at Black Girls Rock”. YouTube. April 1, 2015.
  • “Toni Morrison Talks About Her Motivation For Writing”. YouTube. December 4, 2008. 

College parties & racism

  • Clifton, Derrick. “12 Incidents That Prove Fraternity and Sorority Racism Isn't Just an Oklahoma Problem”. Mic. March 10, 2015. 
  • Kingkade, Tyler . “Frats Behaving Badly: 14 Examples Of Racist Parties, Terrible Pranks, Misogyny, And Just Being Bad”. Huffington Post. September 3, 2013.
  • Gold, Hannah. “6 disturbingly racist and sexist frat party themes — from just this past year!” Salon. March 4, 2014. 

Cultural Appropriation

  • Feeney, Nolan and Ashley Fetters. “Is Lily Allen's New Music Video as Progressive as the Internet Says?”. The AtlanticNovember 12, 2013.
  • “Miley Cyrus & Robin Thicke MTV VMA Awards 2013 Performance”. YouTube. August 26, 2013. 

Misogyny in hip hop  

  • Barnes, Dee. “Here's What's Missing From Straight Outta Compton: Me and the Other Women Dr. Dre Beat Up”. Gawker. August 15, 2015. 
  • Barnes, Tom. “How Music Executives Created 'Black' Hip Hop For White Suburban Kids”. Mic. January 9, 2014. 
  • Gradiant Lair. “Critiquing Hip-Hop/Rap Music - When The Call For Nuance Is A Call For Silence”. Gradiant Lair. March 27, 2013. 
  • Gradiant Lair. “6 Derailment Tactics Used To Silence Criticism of Hip Hop/Rap”. Gradiant Lair. March 30, 2013. 
  • HOT 97. “Rosenberg does not plan on being second-in-command”. YouTube. July 30, 2014. 
  • Hot 97. “Angie Martinez Tupac Exclusive Interview Clip: Pac's view on Women vs B*tches”. YouTube. February 13, 2014. 
  • Rose, Tricia. The Hip Hop Wars: What We Talk About When We Talk About Hip Hop--and Why It Matters. Civitas Books, 2008.
  • Rose, Tricia. “Tricia Rose: Commercial hip hop glorifies violence against black people”. YouTube. July 7, 2014.
  • Soderberg, Brandon. “Rap, Rape, and R&B: The Battle of the Sexes”. Spin. May 3, 2011. 
  • Soderberg, Brandon. “Is ‘Yeezus’ the Tipping Point for Rap Misogyny?” Spin. June 28, 2013. 
  • Williams, Stereo. “Atoning For Hip-Hop’s History of Misogyny: From Dr. Dre to Kanye West”. The Daily Beast. August 29, 2015. 

Nicki Minaj

  • Drayton, Tiffanie. “The Real Problem With Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda' Cover Art And Her 'Black Jezebel' Brand”. xoJane. July 29, 2014. 
  • Young, Kate. “Sexualization, Exploitation, And Black Female Celebrities: On The Subtle Womanism of Rihanna and Nicki Minaj”. BattyMamzelle. November 18, 2013. 

Rihanna

  • Kornhaber, Spencer. “‘BBHMM’: Rihanna's New Video Does Exactly What It's Supposed To”. The Atlantic. July 6, 2015. 
  • O’Connor, Roisin. “Who cares if Rihanna's BBHMM video is feminist or not? She's the one with the power”. The Independent. July 3, 2015. 
  • St Felix, Doreen. “The Prosperity Gospel of Rhianna”. Pitchfork. April 1, 2015. 

Serena Williams

  • Desmond-Harris, Jenée. “Serena Williams is constantly the target of disgusting racist and sexist attacks”. Vox. September 7, 2016.  
  • Little, Anita. “Serena Williams, the Hottentot Venus and Accidental Racism”. Ms Magazine. December 15, 2012.
  • Maxwell, Zerlina. “Serena Williams and the Fear of the Angry Black Women”. Feministing. September 13, 2011. 

White feminism & Beyoncé

  • Cole, Olivia. “The Feminist Death Match Between Emma Watson And Beyoncé Is Some Anti-Feminist Sh@t”. xoJane. September 25, 2014. 
  • Danielle, Britni. “Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Defends Beyonce: “Whoever Says They’re Feminist is Bloody Feminist”. Clutch. March, 2014. 
  • Gradiant Lair. “Black Women and Twerking: Why Its Creators Face Bigotry That Miley Cyrus Never Will”. Gradiant Lair. March 24, 2013. 
  • Gradiant Lair. “What’s Really Going On With White Feminists’ Critiques of Beyoncé?” Gradiant LairMay, 18, 2013. 
  • Young, Cate. “The Beyoncé Conversation: Feminism, Black Women and The Presumption Of Sexual Agency”. BattyMamzelle. Feburary 16, 2014. 
  • Young, Cate. “For Feminists Who Resort To Racism When Slut Shaming Is Not Enough”. BattyMamzelle. December 17, 2014. 

White feminism

  • chescaleigh. “5 Tips For Being An Ally”. YouTube. November 22, 2014. 
  • Cooper, Britney. “Feminism’s ugly internal clash: Why its future is not up to white women”. Salon. 24 September 2014.  
  • Kendall, Mikki. “Twitter, Feminism And Race: Who Gets A Seat At The Table?”. NPR. September 5, 2013. 
  • Goldberg, Michelle. “Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars”. The Nation. January 29, 2014. 
  • Penny, Laurie. “Laurie Penny on Lena Dunham, Caitlin Moran and the problem of unexamined privilege”. New StatesmanOctober 9, 2012. 
  • Traister, Rebecca and Judith Shulevitz. “Feminism Has Conquered the Culture. Now Comes the Hard Part”. New Republic. September 14, 2014.
  • Young, Cate. “Discussions Of Sexuality Are Not The Same For WoC: Let's Stop Pretending They Are”. BattyMamzelle. December 6, 2013. 
  • Young, Cate. “This Is What I Mean When I Say "White Feminism"”. BattyMamzelle. January 10, 2014. 
  • Young, Cate. “About That Time I Pissed Off White Feminism”. BattyMamzelle. January 16, 2014.
  • Zeilinger, Julie. “The Brutal Truth Every White Feminist Needs to Hear”. Mic. September 11, 2015.