The “Queen of the Cakewalk”, Aida Overton Walker addressed Black writers/critics’ disregard for and criticism of the acting profession in a December issue of The Freeman. After first addressing the main topic at hand, she proceeded to suggest proactive steps that could prepare up-and-coming black performers for the stage. Below is an excerpt from her article:
"I have stated that we ought to strive to produce great actors and actresses; by this I do not mean that all our men and women who possess talent for the stage should commence the study of Shakespeare’s works. Already, too many of our people wish to master Shakespeare, which is really a ridiculous notion. There are characteristics and natural tendencies in our own people which make as beautiful studies for the stage as any to be found in the make-up of any other race, and perhaps far more. By carefully studying our own graces, we learn to appreciate the noble and the beautiful in ourselves, just as other people have discovered the graces and beauty in themselves from studying and acting that which is noble in them. Unless we learn the lesson of self-appreciating and practice it, we shall spend our lives imitating other people and depreciating ourselves. There is nothing equal to originality, and I think much time is lost in trying to do something that has been done and "overdone," much better than you will be able to do it."
The Freeman (Dec. 28, 1912) - Link
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