(Pre-Order) Memoir of an Ugly Duckling: My Life, Art, & Method

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(Pre-Order) Memoir of an Ugly Duckling: My Life, Art, & Method

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Memoir of an Ugly Duckling is d'bi.young anitafrika's first autobiography. It chronicles her life, art and creative praxis - the Anitafrika Method.

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An Excerpt of Memoir of an Ugly Duckling by d'bi.young anitafrika

I am a child of the village

I was raised by the village

one third of my life was spent in Jamaica

another third in Canada

and the other third I have spent

traversing the planet in search of truth

I am the result

of the community

taking time over and over again and over again

to give loving attention

to the growing black girl child

I am also the result of the community’s neglect

an unwillingness to make space for what is different

and so am I the result of obsessive dysfunctional attention

that preys on the flesh of the innocent

what I share with you in the following story

comes out of what the village has taught me

about myself and about humanity

 

"d’bi when you see me on stage tonite, please don’t shout my name,” my mother implored. “I promise I won’t, mommy.” My five-year-old self lied. Later that evening, as soon as I saw my mother enter the theatre, breaking the darkness that enveloped the entire audience, I belted out her name. “Mommy! “Mommy! “Mommy!” My grandmother who accompanied me to my mother’s first lead role at the Jamaica School of Drama, shushed me vigorously. I needed my mother to know that I was there for her; that I recognized her and that I was proud to be her daughter. As far back as I can remember, I have been enamored with my mother; a Black womxn. She is a poet, a playwright, an actor, a teacher and an artivist but most importantly, the womxn who has the deep courage to have me when she was fifteen years old. I grew up wishing to embody this intangible courage.  As a sole parent in working class Jamaica in the 1970s, my mother’s life was not easy. She had me just before she turned sixteen. Being the ambitious daughter of my matriarchal grandmother, my mother went right back to school after I was born. Within five years, she matriculated and applied to the Jamaica School of Drama to further her studies in Drama for Education. It was here that she wrote her thesis Dubbin Theatre: Moving Dub Poetry into a Theatrical Realm. I found this unfinished paper while rummaging through her library when I was nineteen years old and there began my journey with what I now call the Anitafrika Method.