By Shamar Blunt
Shirley Chisholm, the late outspoken and awe-inspiring American politician of Barbadian descent who broke many social and political barriers during her lifetime, will soon have her life celebrated in the form of a play that local audiences will have the chance to enjoy.
Guyanese-born actor and playwright, Ingrid Griffith will deliver her award-winning, one-woman show, entitled Shirley Chisholm: Unbossed & Unbowed at the Daphne Joseph- Hackett Theatre this weekend.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY on Thursday during her final set of rehearsals, Griffith, whose play is being supported by the Guyanese Association of Barbados, Inc.
(GABI) in cooperation with the National Cultural Foundation (NCF), said Chisholm’s life has always fascinated her.
“I was just in awe and surprised that I did not know about all that she was. She was a first at a lot of things besides being a Congresswoman, and I was wondering why it has not been in history books, why I never heard about it in high school or college. So, it was about seven years ago I decided to research her and play her in a show.
“I always felt that I could play her, and for a while, I was saying maybe a script will come out about her and I will audition and I will get the part and I will not have to write the show, but that did not happen. I kept researching and the more I got into her story, the more I wanted to share it,” she explained.
Griffith said that despite Chisholm’s many accomplishments, from being the first African-American woman in Congress and the first African-American to make a bid for a major party’s nomination for President, to her sterling efforts towards passing several pieces of legislation supporting women and workers’ rights, her legacy has been underrated.
When asked what connected her with Chisholm’s character, Griffith said the late politician’s passion for everything she did, in particular going against set customs in society at the time, made a serious impression on her.
“I think her personal life was very interesting to me; I saw how she had to give up certain things in her personal life to have the public life and serve the community.
There is always that trade-off. As a woman, I have gone through that as well – things that I have to choose not to do because I want to be travelling, sharing these stories like this.
“I think just understanding the dynamic of wanting all, and then having to make sacrifices, but also having people i n your corner that are with you,” the playwright added.
Shirley Chisholm: Unbossed & Unbowed will begin on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. A gala for the show will begin at the same time on Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at ticketnation.bb, and there will be limited tickets at the door. [email protected])