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One woman show details four lives

By Mbololwa Mundia
On February 23, 2017

February is Black History Month and the Kirkwood Community College Arts and Humanities Department will host The Core Ensemble’s performance of “Ain’t I a Woman!” in  Ballantyne Auditorium on March 9, at 11:15 a.m. 

“Ain’t I a Woman!” is a live instrumental performance that celebrates the lives of four African American women including Zora Neale Hurston, Sojourner Truth, Clementine Hunter and Fannie Lou Hamer.

The show will star Shayla Simmons an African American woman playing the part of all four African American women as a one-woman show. 

Simmons said she has been acting for 15 years. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, she began her acting career in high school plays and later went to The American Musical and Dramatic Academy to major in Musical Theater.

Simmons stated, “The show is unique in the sense that it is a one-woman show; I have never seen anything like this before.”

She added that she encourages students to attend the show. “Especially with politics and the new president, you will see that Fannie Hamer speaks a lot of the issues that we still face today,” said Simmons.

Arts and Humanities Department Coordinator Karla A. Scriven said she also encourages students to attend. “The show is great opportunity for students to experience something different. Events like this come so rarely to Kirkwood that we really like to encourage diversity,” said Scriven.  

Simmons said, “Students get to learn more about these four women and the issues spoken about in the show are still relevant today.”

She added, “The show is very eye catching and relevant with what’s going on today. The music is great. If you are a conscious, intelligent person then you will definitely want to see the show.”

The show is free and open to all students, faculty and staff at Kirkwood as well as the general public. 

Audience members will also have a chance to ask questions at the end of the show.

According to, since 1933, “The Core Ensemble has been acclaimed for the development of a new genre of chamber music works.”  

The site also stated the group is, “committed to reach the widest range of audiences demographically and geographically from formal performances to informal lecture and educational residency programs.”

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