Sherina Rodriguez Sharpe
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Sherina Rodriguez Sharpe is a writer, editor, performer and executive director of Obsidian Blues, an organization that uses art to transform, heal and forge new ground. She brings her gifts for inspiring others to Shetroit.com, where she serves as convener and publisher for an organization that creates an enriching space for women of Detroit to weave community. Her work draws from the profound healing she’s experienced through writing and investigates cultural intersections, specifically in the patterns that emerge when class, gender, race and religion overlap.
ON BECOMING [UNFUKWITABLE]
On Becoming [Unfukwitable] is Sherina Rodriguez Sharpe’s one-woman show examining her molestation through the lens of each family member involved. Set to an explosive, live jazz score that blends jazz, opera, and Filipino folk music, Sharpe will serve as the actor leading the audience through an exploration of these characters. Her mission is to demonstrate the beauty and brilliance of the healing journey, showing that one does not have to be a sexual assault survivor to feel the effects.
The audience is invited to come dressed as they’d like to be seen five years in the future.
There is a tradition in my family: the women protect the men, even when these
men have hurt us. And so I heard, “Your father was wrong. But, you must respect him.”
I am a blend of my parents, Mom’s hair hanging like ropes down my back, Papa’s mouth bowed into constant question marks, her almond eyes and his mother’s hips that curve into bass-clefs singing trouble. My grandmother told me that this combination would be my undoing — that men would try to undo me. No one seemed surprised that the first was my father.
My father is a conquistador.
He takes what he wants.
I am a teller.
Really, all writers are.
And so we each have our own power.
On Becoming [Unfukwitable] is my one woman show about transformation.
Each narrative is distinct. Ning, our narrator, leads us through the journey. Papa is a jazz connoisseur and a lawyer. His monologues are crafted to look like sheet music. When he is truly defensive, his monologues appear in the form of legal documents.
Ning, on the other hand, is a poet and a storyteller. Her monologues are poems in ever-changing forms. She moves through ghazals, spells, sonnets, limericks, and elegies in an effort to heal and defend herself. Grammy speaks in blues poems. Ning’s little brother, Boy-boy, describes his memories as various games and Nanay’s (Filipino for “Mother’s”) monologues are recipes. Nanay relays her memories through sharing recipes and demonstrating folk dances. These forms weave themselves into deep, rich stories.
The mission is to become whole.
We only become whole by taking the opposite action of what we did to survive. I was sitting on my father’s lap, so now it is time to stand.
This process is a testimony for Obsidian Blues, the young writers that I mentor: we walk through swamps, through fire. We define who we are for ourselves.
If you want to be free, you have to steal ALL OF YOURSELF back. Embrace every shadow and find survival is a gorgeous art.