Ngozi Paul examines black female representation through pop culture in new play

Ngozi Paul discusses her powerful new play, The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely.
Ngozi Paul's new play, The Emancipation of Mr. Lovely, premiered at Toronto's Crow's Theatre on March 30 and will run till April 8. (Courtesy of Touchwood Public Relations)

The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely, Ngozi Paul's powerful new play, is a frank exploration of what it means to be a young black woman. It not only tells a personal story; it also tells the story of her friends, Caribbean people, black people, first generation Torontonians and many more.

Paul began writing this play when she was in South Africa and the story of Sarah Baartman — a 19th-century South African woman who was put on display at exhibits across Europe for her body shape — played an integral part in her putting everything together, and tying it around the idea of how sexuality is portrayed in pop culture today.

"When Kim Kardashian came out with the photo that broke the internet, people thought it harkened back to Grace Jones but it actually harkened back to Sarah Baartman," she explains. "I was obsessed with the portrayal of women's bodies, and especially their behinds, and I wanted to flip that story on its head and tell it from a different perspective."

Today, Paul joins Tom Power on the show to discuss the play and the powerful message behind it. 

The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely is running till April 8 at Toronto's Crow's Theatre. For more information, head over to the theatre's website.

— Produced by Cora Nijhawan


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