100 Women We Love: Lenelle Moise
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Playwright Lenelle Moïse has always let art guide her. “I grew up sheltered, shy and serious,” she says. “Learning how to write and perform gave me opportunities to play in public, to create community.” The Huntington Theatre Company Playwriting Fellow won the 2012 Southern Rep Ruby Prize for her comedy Merit, one of several accolades in her thriving career. She also wrote, composed and co-starred in the critically acclaimed drama Expatriate, which opened Off Broadway in 2008. “As a playwright, I am committed to creating dynamic leading roles for actors of color. My aim is to share well-crafted, beautiful, urgent and uplifting art,” says Moïse. Among her triumphs are becoming the Hedgebrook Women Playwrights Festival Fellow, serving as Artist in Residence in Performance Studies at Northwestern University, earning the Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund Award in Poetry, and being Visiting Performing Artist in African & African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas, Austin—not to mention the fifth Poet Laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts. “Audre Lorde said, ‘I am a black feminist lesbian poet, and I identify myself as such because if there is one other black feminist lesbian poet in isolation somewhere within the reach of my voice, I want her to know she is not alone.’ I am out to combat loneliness, shame and fear,” says Moïse. “I am out to celebrate passion and commitment. I feel successful when my plays and performances inspire people to walk taller, to live prouder.” –NHM