Adaku’s Revolt (MAP 2018)




Adaku’s Revolt is a performance work that tells the story of a young black girl’s revolt against normative standards of beauty, against normalizing the pain one must endure to achieve conventional standards of beauty, against enduring the scarring of chemical straighteners or hot iron combs, and against accepting natural hair as a source of humiliation. Adaku’s Revolt audiences will enter the performance space through long, winding curled hairs and move through the space as if they are in a high field of grass, planting the seed of the hair and body as a landscape metaphor. Centered on the protagonist’s narrative of courage, inner strength and self-care that encourage her to resist having her hair straightened by chemical relaxers, hot combs or straightening irons, Adaku’s Revolt will celebrate the bravery of children who challenge societal constructs that require subjecting themselves to pain in order to be deemed acceptable. The work will also challenge both children and adult audiences in grappling with the discomfort that comes with breaking with convention, and will expose them to protagonists who come from communities different from their own.


Okwui Okpokwasili