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The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

The Student News Site of Christopher Newport University

The Captain's Log

The Captain's Log

Ain’t I a Woman performed on the Ferguson stage

Tiffany Terrell steps into the shoes of four influential black women

The Core Ensemble and Tiffany Terrell took the audience on a journey through four narrative scenes woven together with live music at the Diamonstein Concert Hall on Monday, Feb. 12. 


“It was a really big challenge for me. I stretched myself as an actor. I can say I’ve grown as an actor because of this show.” said Terrell, who is in her second season with Core Ensemble.


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In the performance titled, “Ain’t I a Woman,” Terrell stepped into the role of four influential black, female figures in history: Zora Neale Hurston, Clementine Hunter, Sojourner Truth and Fannie Lou Hamer. The ensemble’s cello, piano and percussion playing supported Terrell’s emotional performance throughout the night and set the tone for her theatrical retelling of history.


 Playing Zora Neale Hurston, who grew up in a black community with no “ceiling” to limit her, Terrell embodied the famous author’s ambition and unapologetic confidence. She called Hurston the most “freeing” character to play.


Terrell brought self-taught folk artist Clementine Hunter to life with her fierce personality and her strong devotion to caring for her family. Giving a powerful performance as American abolitionist and activist Sojourner Truth, Terrell reenacted parts of her famous speech, “Ain’t I A Woman,” delivered in 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio. 


Terrell brought the realities of violence against black Americans to the stage with her raw and honest portrayal of voting and women’s rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer as she recounted her experience of white police officers arresting and beating her.


“I hope that people were able to walk away with understanding and knowledge of what their work was, what they meant to the black community and American history,” said Terrell.


The performance was hosted by CNU’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and included opening remarks from the university’s Chief DEI Officer Vidal Dickerson. CNU President Bill Kelly and Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones were both in attendance.

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Evelyn Davidson, Editor in Chief
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