At 25, Shay Youngblood wrote the play Shakin' the Mess Outta Misery. Last year, 30 years later, she saw it performed by the Pegasus Theatre in Chicago.
Playwriting is one of the many talents of Youngblood, who is executive assistant to the director of the Onstead Institute for Education in the College of Visual Arts and Design at UNT. She also is a novelist, essayist and teacher. Oscar-winner Viola Davis recently read one of her short stories, They Tell Me, Now I Know, on NPR's Selected Shorts.
Shakin' follows a 25-year-old orphaned black woman reflecting on her family and community members influential to her growing up.
"Seeing the play confirmed my intention for my work to be a catalyst for difficult conversations about race, gender, sexuality and alternative ways of creating family and to move audiences to act on issues they are passionate about," Youngblood says.