UMEGA MU THETA JIOTA LAMBDA
THE WILLIE AGEE PLAYHOUSE
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
THE BLACK CREATORS COLLECTIVE
IN BIRMINGHAM ALABAMA ON THE MCMILLAN CAMPUS OF 6,000 STUDENTS, LESS THAN 250 ARE BLACK
DESPERATE TO BE SEEN, HEARD AND PROTECTED, 6 OF THE TOKEN BLACK STUDENTS RALLY TOGETHER TO CURATE A SAFE HAVEN FOR THEIR PEERS.
BUT AT THE PEAK OF A PROMISING FUTURE REMNANTS OF A JIM CROW SOUTH SHAKE THE LIVES OF THE NEWFOUND TRIBE FORCING EACH BLACK LIFE TO CHALLENGE THEIR OWN MORAL COMPASSES AND DECIDE IF EACH BLACK LIFE HAS A SAME VALUE
" THE SOUTH IS POETIC..."
LaDarrion Williams is a Los Angeles based-playwright, filmmaker, and screenwriter. His first play, Concrete Rose, a Hurricane Katrina drama, won first place at the Alabama State Thespian Conference. It was also a part of A Noise Within Theatre for their Noise Now Reading Series. His play, Broken Memories, was performed several times nationwide, acquiring several awards and recognition. His adaptation of the best-selling memoir, Feeding A Monster, was directed by award-winning actor and director Art Evans at the Hudson Theatre in Hollywood, CA. He was a guest writer for Center Theatre Groups’ August Wilson Monologue Competition. His play Black Creek Risin’ was a part of the Great Plains Theatre Conference in Omaha, Nebraska. In September 2019, his play, Coco Queens, was a part of the Sundance Institute’s Playwriting Intensive. The play was also a semi-finalist for the 2020 Eugene O’Neill National Playwriting Conference. In 2021, his Hattie McDaniel-inspired play Boulevard of Bold Dreams was a part of the New Works Festival at the Morgan-Wixson Theatre in Santa Monica, California. LaDarrion is currently a resident playwright/co-creator of The Black Creators Collective.
" People turn their noses up at the south but Black Culture, Black History and the Black Future is the South. The twang, I love it. The south is poetic and that's what my writting pays homage to. Every Black American soul is just a few generations from a southern migration. The lifestyle may be slower because we smell roses but there is nothing slow about us."
PLAYWRIGHT LADARRION WILLIAMS
MEET THE PLAYERS THAT BREATH LIFE INTO THE ALL AMERICAN CHARACTERS OF UMOJA
Shelli Boone has been working in Hollywood for over fifteen years, and she is currently recurring on CW’s “All American:Homecoming” and CBS’ “Why Women Kill”. She has guest starred on popular shows such as “NCIS:LA”, “SWAT”, “Dear White People”, “Castle”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, “Private Practice”, “Mr. Box Office” and Tyler Perry’s “House of Payne.” She was also a series regular on FOX’s primetime drama soap “Saints and Sinners”. Shelli is also an accomplished singer, and she was nominated for an NAACP Best Actress Award for her stage portrayal of Dorothy Dandridge in “Dorothy and Otto”. She also embodied the vivacious Josephine Baker in “When Divas Were Divas” which toured both nationally and in Europe.
She has produced several stage productions including her one-woman show “Out West: Women of the Plains” and “The Cell Block Seven”, which premiered in Washington, DC and went on to earn another NAACP nomination for Best Ensemble.
She has expanded her love of the craft by coaching actors - her clients have landed major roles in features and television. Shelli has served as the Artistic Director of the Willie Agee Playhouse
in Inglewood for the past 5 years, bringing quality programming to her community. She most recently directed Suzan Lori-Parks’ “Topdog/Underdog” here as well as some showcase pieces. She is proud of the productions and workshops she has developed right in her own backyard. Her faith, family and friends are her biggest sources of inspiration to continue to thrive as an entertainer and creator.
DIRECTOR SHELLI BOONE
" DON'T MAKE IT CUTE... MAKE IT REAL"
Most notably known for her reoccurring role in the MTV series “Todrick”, ThurZday is honored to make her first post pandemic debut at the historical Willie Agee Playhouse.After spending the pandemic theater drought producing-directing webmercials and...
...film visuals, The American singer-songwriter and actress is most excited to return to stages with the skills honed under the leadership/tutalege of the likes of Todrick Hall, Debbie Allen, and esteemedBroadway director Kevin Ramsey. Those of which last seen on the prestigious stage of The Wallis Annenberg Center For The Performing Arts following behind years of concert touring, commercial work and featuring in stage plays.
@Its_ThurZday on all social media platforms.
"NIKITA 'NIKKI' DESROSIERS"
CHOREOGRAPHER & PRODUCER
is an up and coming actress, excited to bring the role of Taronda to life. Her most recent credit includes Macpuerco performed at the Hollywood Fringe Festival as well as some background roles in a few short films...
...She has a degree in Theater Arts from Cal State University, Northridge and continues to take various scene study courses to hone her skills. She currently works full time as a learning and development coordinator and enjoys learning to play guitar in her spare time.
"NIKITA 'NIKKI' DESROSIERS" (U/S)
Hailing from Houston, TX with roots in the small Austin outskirt town called Pflugerville, TX , Oliver is actor, singer and model most recognizable from his debut leading role in the Amazon Prime film 'Blood At The Root'. Oliver’s passion for the arts was...
...first stirred in his adolescence. With thespian parents who were grounded in the Texas theater community, he began to find his own footing in the performance world. Oliver went on to get his Bachelors Degree in Theatre with a specialty in performance at Texas Southern University. During his tenure at TSU, he was very devoted, taking space in organizations such as Student Government Association, The Collegiate 100, and taking up the honor of becoming an “Ice cold” Alpha Phi Alpha man, an endearing legacy from his father. Oliver is set to release new music in the coming year along with his upcoming stage show and film premieres. For all things Oliver Haeden follow @OliverHaedenOfficial on social platforms.
is a Silverlake, Ca. born actor, writer, and filmmaker. Whether on stage, or on set, Elijah's love for acting, collaborating...
...and telling stories is always front and center. Through hard work and dedication Elijah has been able to be apart of various plays, short films, network television shows such as, Grown-ish, Snowfall, and This Is Us, and feature films. His most recent credits include, the lead role in the HBOMAX nominated short film, "BABY", with Vanessa Bell Calloway, a co-star role in Netflix's Collin Black And White, directed by Ava Duvernay, a supporting role in the upcoming holiday film, Holiday Hideaway, with Camille Winbush and Novi Brown, and recently just wrapped an episode on HBO's new untitled docudrama Laker's project/television show.
""AARON LEWIS" (SWING)
Samuel was born and raised in Jacksonville, FL. He's very grateful to be a part of this production of UMOJA, a play he believes speaks volumes in our current society. In 2020 he wrapped his first major feature film alongside Ryan Destiny & Heather Graham in the phycological horror film "Oracle”...
...(Universal Pictures and Will Packer Productions.) He studied theater on a partial scholarship at the Stella Adler Academy of Acting his first year in LA. Samuel enjoys expressing himself through poetry and has two published books with a third on the way. Though he grew up having played basketball for a large portion of his life, he recently chose boxing as another athletic venture to be passionate about. He would like to give a shout-out to his Mom, Dad, Nana, sister, and inner circle of friends for their love and support. "It keeps me going."
SAMUEL ISAIAH HUNTER
is a non-binary artist all about pushing the envelope and moving the needle for inclusive casting for queer POC in Hollywood. In 2022 you’ll be able to witness B.J. portray the teenage version of legendary boxer Mike Tyson in Hulu’s...
...“Iron Mike,” opposite of Trevante Rhodes and Harvey Keitel, directed by Craig Gillespie. B.J. is also a writer and director in their own right. B.J. wrote and directed a film called “United” which is a part of the anthology feature film “00:08:46,” a protest film that displays different Black experiences happening within the time of George Floyd’s murder. Other fun credits include Master P’s “I Got The Hookup 2” and a recurring role in Urbanflix T.V.’s “Casting The Net,” opposite of greats like Ella Joyce and Willard Pugh. B.J. would like to thank all of the queer, Black artists that had the courage to step out and be themselves. That courage was the precursor to B.J. finding their own voice and power in who they are. B.J. hopes they can do the same, and inspire others to love their own skin and be proud of who they are.
is an Oakland, CA native. After graduating Oakland School for the Arts Twonbegan teaching young performers in various schools & programs around the Bay Area, then...
...Los Angeles. In 2017, Twon received a Scenie Theatre Award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role for (CROOKS) Of Mice and Men. Some personal favorite roles include,(CLAUDIO) Much Ado About Nothing; (ZONITA) in African American Shakespeare Co. rendition of Cinderella; (GUS GREENLEE) Blackballed: The Rise and Fall of Negro League Baseball.Twon is a proud company member at Towne Street Theatre (LA) and the creator of “A TribeCalled Melanin” an improv group & workshop creating a safe space black actors in LA. He was recently seen in the short TV movies, Blue Light Melody & Blood at the Root both available onAmazon Prime.
TWON MARCEL POPE
&HAKEEM EDWARDS (U/S)
MEET THE PLAYERS THAT BREATH LIFE INTO THE ALL - AMERICAN UMOJA CHARACTERS
was born in Kansas City, Missouri.
Her family moved to Tucson, Arizona when she was in middle school where she developed a love for theatre. She preformed in drama and musical productions as a teenager and went on to...
...attend the University of Arizona. After college, she joined an acting company in Phoenix, Arizona that preformed original plays for community theatre as well as, pursued a professional film career. She took a break from performing to raise her 4 children and directed youth theatre encouraging her own children in acting. She moved to Los Angeles in 2019 to once again follow her passion for film and theatre. She recently preformed with her sons in Teenage Badass, a South by Southwest finalist film. She is honored to be apart of Umoja and the amazing cast and crew of black artists. She loves and supports projects that give a voice to human rights and Black Lives Matter.
is excited to be back on the theatre stage collaborating with an all black cast. Anative of Oakland, CA and a CSUN Cinema/TV graduate, Mekaela first took the stage at the...
...age of 8, but since moving to LA has acted in various movies, tv shows, commercials and webseries. Mekaela thanks her husband for the sacrifices he makes daily and she thanks thedirector, Shelli Boone, for trusting her to bring this character to life.
"TARONDA WESTON (U/S)"
Tammy Kaitz is delighted be on stage again, this time with the talented cast of Umoja!
Currently on Prime, Tammy can be seen in the fun wacky comedy MAN CAMP as the female lead starring opposite Pete Gardner. Tammy played a pivotal role in the beautiful powerful film DUKE and GRIEF...
...She is also starring as the attractive axe-wielding Cougar in the horror-comedy feature film THE BONE GARDEN. Tammy has established herself as a powerhouse on the indie scene, which began with Robert Townsend’s celebrated HOLLYWOOD SHUFFLE. She has appeared on numerous TV shows and commercials.
Tammy has also built a highly-acclaimed reputation on stage, winning the Valley Theater League’s ‘Lead Actress of the Year’ award for her role in The Baby Dance. She garnered critical praise for her role in Infinite Black Suitcase.
Later, Tammy’s personal strength would be tested when her son was diagnosed with pediatric cancer. His recovery from cancer would lead the way for her desire to help other children and she has proudly raised lots of money for pediatric cancer research!
Kenneth Cosby, MFA is a Los Angeles based video, sound, projection, and lighting design artist. Ever since he worked as a videographer at La Mama ETC while studying Film and Television at New York University, Kenneth has used his design skills in several for projects over the past 20 years. Kenneth taught screenwriting at...
...NYU and USC as well as designing the opening video for ‘The Truth Awards’ in 2016 and 2018 and is currently an Artist in Residence at Towne Street. Theatre.
LIGHTING & SOUND DESIGNER
is a dynamic Actor and Digital Media Creator based in Los Angeles, California. From the mere age of 7 years old he knew what it took to achieve his dreams of being an Actor and has been working ever since. Starting in church plays, he then went to the prestigious Booker. Washington High School for the...
...Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas Texas, and later continuing his Theatre training at the University of North Texas before finally transitioning to Los Angeles in 2018.
"DENORRIS LEE (U/S)"
Was born in Staten Island, NY. One of 11, yeah, that's right, 11 children of Antoinette and Herbert Lee Newsome, Jr. He is an actor, writer, director and all around artist currently splitting time between New York and Los Angeles.
As an actor his selected theater credits include A Raisin in the Sun, The Meeting, News To Me, Macbeth, Richard III, Revenge of a King, Take Me Out, 911: A Day in the Life of a People, Re:Definition, No Place To Be Somebody and five August Wilson plays- Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, Jitney...
... The Piano Lesson, Radio Golf. He has been a part of many theater festivals across the country including, the New York International Fringe Festival, The Philadelphia Fringe Festival, The National Black Theater Festival (Winston-Salem, N.C.), and around the world at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa. His Film credits include The Brother from Another Planet, Untamed, American Exit, The Pick Up Artist, Sweet Nothings, Pimpin' Ain't Easy and Abandoned.
As a playwright he has penned three solo shows in which he was also the performer, In Devil’s Heaven, Break It Down and Freeman in Paris (which was honored with 2011 Humanities Script writing Award presented by the Institute of African American Research at UNC-Chapel Hill). His full length play Revenge of a King, a hip-hop musical based on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, has been produced in 8 cities across the country as well as the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa.
As a director his credits include Revenge of a King for the NY International Fringe Festival, the national tour of Roll of Thunder Hear, My Cry for the National Theater of Arts and Education, Forgivable Sins, a finalist at the Samuel French One Act Festival in NYC, Sing Black Hammer and Journey of the Spirits at the Kuntu Repertory Theater, and Topdog/Underdog, Detroit '6.7, Front Porch Society and Too Heavy For Your Pocket at the New Horizon Theater and The Colored Museum for the Oakwood School He also developed and directed a One Man Show entitled Problem Child, which he co-wrote, starring Matt McManus for the Hollywood Fringe Festival 2019.
THE PLAYERS BEHIND THE SCENES THAT FACILITATE THE DREAM
Is a British-American student in the Arts. Born in Turks and Caicos Island and raised in Miami Florida, Ladine Jae peeked interest in the arts while she attended Norland Middle school. She was too shy to audition for the arts program in middle school, but was randomly placed in the Drama Program in High School. It was at Miami Norland Senior High School that she made up her mind to...
pursue the art of Theatre, Film and Television. After High school, Ladine Jae moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment. In 2015, she graduated AMDA LA with a Bachelor's in Fine Arts Acting.
Post degree, she settled into LA and landed a gig as a co-host on Afterbuzz Tv: General Hospital. In 2016, Afterbuzz TV presented Ladine Jae the opportunity to be an interviewer on the Red Carpet at the Daytime Emmy Awards alongside former co-hosts.
To date, Ladine Jae continues be a student in the entertainment industry, submerging herself in limitless opportunities . When she’s not working in production, she can be found being a fitness enthusiast in LA, focusing on staying committed to a healthy lifestyle, You vs. uoY.
OUR BLOOD RUNS DEEP IN HARMONY
FROM THE NILE RIVERS, WE ARE PROVING BLACK EXCELLENCE. OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS ARE IN UNITY.
WE ARE OUR ANCESTORS' WILDEST DREAMS
WE. ARE. UMOJA.
- TRAYVON GARDNER & NIKITA DESROSIERS
DeJuan Christopher is an actor, director, writer, producer and teaching artist from Marion, SC. He received a BFA in Theater Arts from Francis Marion University and is a graduate of the STC program at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco. He is a co-founder of the Black Creators Collective (B.C.C.). He was instrumental in launching B.C.C.’s first educational outreach program, serving as a Teaching Artist in a five week playwriting program at...
...Kelly Elementary School in Compton. Through his work with the B.C.C., he has also led an Actor’s Workshop for adults, and directed in The Directors Lab Showcase featuring work from the organization’s resident playwright, LaDarrion Williams. Additionally, he created and will lead their upcoming, August in the Park Festival which will consist of workshops and performances centering August Wilson’s American Century Cycle. As an actor, he was most recently seen playing Canewell, in Seven Guitars at A Noise Within Theatre. Other notable credits include: starring in Charles H. Fuller’s award winning play, A Soldier’s Play as Private Peterson and Larry Americ Allen’s award winning play, The Expulsion of Malcolm X as the title character. This portrayal earned him a review from the San Francisco Chronicle, “as an excellent delineator in a must see drama.” In addition, he has portrayed: Malcolm X, in The Meeting; Leland Cunningham, Blues for an Alabama Sky; Jeff Williams, The River Niger; Duke Orsino, Twelfth Night; Orgon, Tartuffe. He has over a decade of experience teaching Dramatic Arts. In recent years, he has
worked as a Guest Teaching Artist for the Los Angeles High School of the Arts, coaching students for the August Wilson National Monologue Competition. He was also a Guest Artist for Center Theater Group’s, August Wilson In-School Residency. Prior to moving to Los Angeles in 2016, he was the Founder and C.E.O. of Colors of Vision Entertainment (C.O.V.E.). C.O.V.E.’s mission is to bring African Art, Culture, and History to the forefront through entertainment. Through C.O.V.E. he produced several plays and arts symposiums in the Bay Area.
Mildred Marie Langford is an LA based actress, writer, producer, content creator and Founderand CEO of the new faith-based production company Little Black Pearl Productions. Mildredmost recently completed her first solo indie project, which she wrote, executive produced an dlrectedd called The Three Phases of Isa. She is also...
...the co-creator, co-writer, and co-executive producer of the six-episode dramedy series Commune. Her other TV/Film credits includeDelilah, Bosch, Chicago MED, Masters of Sex, Magic Funhouse, Boss, Upload, Good Side ofBad, Dignity (Best Actress Award) and Grow Up.Other notable credits include: Native Son (Antaeus Theatre Company/Kirk Douglas Theatre -2019 Block Party); Gunshot Medley: Part 1 (Rogue Machine Theatre/WLCAC – Best ActressOvation Award Nominee); Domesticated, Animal Farm, Venus, The Crucible (SteppenwolfTheatre Company); The Royale (American Theater Company/BTAA - Best Featured Actress);Luck of the Irish (Next Theatre Company); A Raisin in the Sun (Milwaukee Rep/TimelineTheatre); My Kind of Town, In Darfur (Timeline Theatre) and Failure: A Love Story (VictoryGardens Theater).Mildred is also the Co-Founder and Co-Chair of The Black Creators Collective; a non-profit organization that brings artistic knowledge and resources to under-served communities in theSouth Los Angeles area, while also creating and developing content and opportunities for artists of color. And a member of the grass-roots organization, Support Black Theatre, founded by Sophina Brown. She is a proud member of AEA & SAG-AFTRA.
MILDRED MARIE LANGFORD
THE UNIVERSITY ALWAYS WANTS TO
LOOK GOOD IN THE PRESS ABOUT HELPING US OUT EVER SINCE THEY HAD WHOLE
THING WITH THE LAST PRESIDENT
SO IT WON'T HURT THEM ANY.....
- NIKITA DESROSIERS