Details

Biography
Topics
African Americans
Art & Politics
Civil Rights Movement
Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault
Multiculturalism
Native Americans
Performance
Programs for High School Students
Racism/Racial Justice
Storytelling
Violence Against Women
Women & Feminism

I have learned in my life to realize there are traumatic things that happen, that are really hurtful and painful, but even in the trauma, the hurt and the pain, beauty can be birthed out of that.
- Reanae McNeal

Reanae McNeal is an award-winning international inspirational speaker, lecturer, performing artist, acclaimed vocalist, oral HERstorian, visual artist, storyteller, performing art poet, cultural activist, and a minister. She has toured extensively throughout the United States, Hungary, Russia, Italy, Bermuda, Barbados, and Canada. Reanae serves as an honorary board member of the National Sexual Assault Resource Center and she has served as a cultural ambassador in the performing arts in Russia under the special invitation of the Russian Ministry of Culture sponsored by The International Arts Institute. She is also a cutting edge thought leader garnering national scholarly awards such as the prestigious Catherine Prelinger Award from the Coordinating Council for Women in History, the Dream Scholar Award from the Conference on College Composition and Communication, Cultivating New Voices Award from the National Council of Teachers of English. She is also the recipient of numerous other national and international awards such as The Woman of Achievement Award, Women of A Stolen Legacy Award, and The Peace Project Award.

She has lectured extensively on how diverse forms of oppression have impacted women, especially as it pertains to African American women, Indigenous women, Afro Indigenous women, and women of color(s). Also, Reanae, has lectured and presented on The International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, Red Black women’s (her)stories, and the interrelated histories of African American and Native American women. Drawing on her ancestry of being both African American and Native, Reanae uses cultural methods that include stories, poetry, chants, prayers, and songs throughout her lectures to make them powerfully thought provoking and emotionally stimulating as she invites her audience to reflect on pressing social justice issues and decolonization. She has been a featured guest on numerous radio stations such as National Pacifica News and Ebony Expressions speaking on topics such as simultaneous oppression and violence against women. Her lectures have addressed multiple social justice issues and diverse forms of activism in complex and beneficial ways such as violence against women, race and violence, environmental justice, global women’s activism, women’s health, activism of U.S. women of color(s), and African American, Native, and Black Native women’s (her)stories of transformational activism.

Her acclaimed award-winning one-woman plays centered on the diversity of women’s lives have been featured nationally and internationally as testimonies to the endurance of women across social locations. Reanae addresses everything from rape/sexual assault, domestic violence, breast cancer, and homelessness to state violence, health issues, and overcoming educational obstacles. Her ability to capture her audiences to see the lives of the marginalized has gained her the nick name of “Edutainer.” Over the years Reanae has presented at over 250 universities, colleges, schools, conferences, and organizations. Her work has transcended the social locations of her audiences as she has burrowed into their very souls to assist them in understanding how discrimination impacts all of us in different ways and how we all have the ability to transform the world for the betterment of all of creation. She also has used her storytelling to educate children and adults nationally and internationally through wonderful lessons of empowerment by conveying African/African American/ Afro Indigenous tales and diverse world stories.

Reanae is also a visual artist who uses her art to address social injustices. Her Weeping Blood Art Exhibit on violence against women globally has been featured at the International Conference for the Institute on Violence, Abuse, and Trauma. In her exhibit, she crosses such intersections as race, class, age, religion, nationality, culture, disability, and more as she gives us an inclusive view of the human rights violations of girls and women worldwide.  Each woman tells her story through her own unique and incredible voice. These stories are on table top ironing boards that Reanae created art pieces on with the assistance of diverse women who contributed their stories and art. In the exhibit, Reanae gives us a glimpse into domestic violence, rape/sexual assault, sexual abuse, and state violence as she recognizes the simultaneous oppression that the majority of women face on a national and global level. The exhibit is dedicated to Girl X, who at the time of her attack was a nine-year-old African American girl, who was raped, beaten, forced to drink gasoline, and had roach spray put in her mouth. She was left for dead in the stairwell of Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago, Illinois but she SURVIVED. The exhibit is also dedicated to Marquita a nineteen-year-old Native American woman who was raped, beaten, and murdered in an abandoned house on Rosebud reservation in South Dakota.

She has spread her message of inspiration, hope, and healing at some of the most prestigious universities and colleges in the country, including Dartmouth, Princeton, University of Connecticut, Virginia Tech., Grinnell College, Cornell University, and the University of Massachusetts to name a few. Reanae is a powerful speaker and artist with a profound eye for the universal endurance in the human experience.  Communities have been transformed by her presence.
 

Testimonials

"We are still hearing praise about McNeal's powerful presentations which were catalysts for much needed dialogue on the intersection of racism, classism, sexism and violence. Reanae met the challenge of bringing a diverse campus together around difficult issues."

— Ella Shaaban, University of Alabama Student Affairs

"Reanae McNeal's performance was a journey of unexpected joy and sorrow, leaving the audience deeply touched by something special and meaningful. Reanae brings an enormous sense of purpose to her performance."

— Kim Sheffield, Program Director, Office for Sexual Health and Violence Prevention, University of South Carolina

"McNeal leaves an indelible impression in the minds and hearts of people who her her speak and watch her perform. She embraces and captivates her audience with her unique, commanding style of lecturing by combining lecture with spirited song, poetry and skillful dramatization."

— Carol Powers, Women's Studies Program, Ohio Wesleyan University

"Few speakers can match the emotion and energy that Reanae exudes on stage. Her performance was moving and filled with passion."

— Candi Jones, University of Vermont Law School

"I remain in awe of Ms. McNeal's ability to blend laughter with learning and creativity with understanding. Upon leaving our training room that day, Ms. McNeal had achieved yet another fantastic accomplishment -- she left a room filled with animated laughing and enlightened dream makers."

— Sandi Murphy, Program Coordinator, Domestic Violence Advocacy Project

"She is very powerful and creative!"

— Njoki Kamau, Associate Director of the Women's Center, Northwestern University

"We applaud your immense talent and ability to make people feel!"

— Dr. Elizabeth Iterby, Mt. St. Clare College

"Your art cuts to the chase and touches the soul. It Heals!"

— Aishah Simmons, Director of Afro-Lez Productions

Speeches

Reanae McNeal's One-Woman Shows:

BLUES WOMEN DON'T WEAR NO SHOES
"I held her in my arms. My child thin and sick with that thing called AIDS. I told her, "close your eyes, Mama is here. Close your eyes and let your spirit be at peace." That is a mother's love. You hang on when everybody else lets go!
— Excerpt from "Blues Women Don't Wear No Shoes"
This play is a poignant story about the lives of Blues Women. They come from all walks of life. They know homelessness, AIDS, drug addiction, prostitution, and plain old everyday life. These women reveal the depths of their souls to find healing and give us the simple truths of life. Each character speaks from a point of experience and they have all been through the school of hard knocks and struggles. Weeping and laughing they tap into their deep reservoirs of hope and connect themselves into all that they were created for. These women are real, tangible, and accessible. They are modern day "Sheroes" who have made some mistakes. One by one they sing their story of being in the valley and singing the blues. They each end up confessing the truth of their lives, while liberating themselves from the blues. Finally some real women who let us know it's not about where you are but how far you've come. The journey from can't to can - that's what matters!

DON'T SPEAK MY MOTHER'S NAME IN VAIN
"Dear God, I know why black women were purposed in this world, to show the world what it means to face the odds, to show the world what it means to be strong, to look injustice in the face with dignity."
— Excerpt from "Don't Speak My Mother's Name in Vain"
"Don't Speak My Mother's Name In Vain" is a powerful one-woman show that uses interconnected vignettes, dance, and song to trace the experiences of African-American women through a wide range of "herstorical" contexts, linked by the thread of interpersonal and institutional violence. The play introduces eight characters that "herstorically" range from enslavement to present day. These characters reveal how African-American women have survived rape/sexual assault and their simultaneous oppression. Through this play Reanae tells her own story of being a rape/sexual assault survivor when she was in college. She deals with the issues of: racism, sexism, classism, slavery, the reconstruction era, the Marcus Garvey movement, the Civil Rights movement, sexual harassment, child abuse, molestation, incest, gang rape, drug addiction, hate crimes, abortion, and HEALING.

MY SOUL GOT A BRUISE ON IT
"You think I'm dancing. No, I'm not dancing I'm breathing back in everything that has been stolen from me-my sacredness, my laughter, my love, my voice '"my life."
— Excerpt from "My Soul Got a Bruise On It"
This play tackles tough and complicated issues around domestic violence, through the dynamics of racism, sexism, and c!assism in the lives of survivors. Each character tells their own unique and complex story as they weave together a quilt of pain, laughter, heartache, and joy. They answer some of the toughest questions abused women face today, both from themselves and society. "Why do you stay? "What If I can't make it on my own? "If I can just make him happy, maybe he won't hit me." "Why don't you just leave?" "Maybe if I just change?" "What is the price of my liberation? Is it my life?" This play forces it's audience take a look into the soul of the survivor and challenges stereotypical beliefs and views about women who suffer abuse. The characters in this play are based on real survivors of domestic violence. Their most intimate emotions are revealed and told with special care. This is a powerful testimony of women reclaiming their lives as they go through trials and tribulations to do it! At the end they all find that their lives were worth fighting for! ***Please note: Reanae interviewed Domestic Violence survivors and put their stories into characters in a very profound and real way.

AND STILL I FLY
"As far as the eye can see Black women were flying. They were flying over all of it, racism, sexism, and breast cancer. Yes, it is true Black women do fly. Even over breast cancer, they fly!"
— Excerpt from "And Still I Fly"
5,800 African-American women die of breast cancer each year. This one-women show deals with the complexities of African-American women and breast. cancer. The characters tell their stories of being breast cancer survivors and the simultaneous oppression of racism and sexism they face in their daily lives. Through laugher and tears they bare witness and break the silence around what it means to be an African-American woman with breast cancer. Through songs, dance, and character vignettes they take the audience on an intimate journey in the hearts, minds, emotions, and spirits of African-American women who face breast cancer with courage and tenacity. This one-woman show is educational and empowering. It is a testimony of the human spirit against all odds.

I'M EVERY WOMAN
"I am a jumping, dancing, clapping, stomping, singing, miracle of a woman. Now look at yourself and see the same!"
— Excerpt from 'I'm Every Woman'
This play explores the power and tenacity of women to survive in and ever-chaning world. Reanae takes a thought provoking journey through diverse women's lives as they transform from caterpillars into butterfiles reaching their fullest potential. As they face every social issue imaginable homelessness, breast cancer, war, sexual abuse, AIDS, and domestic violence. They learn the profound lesson of never giving up on LOVE. Each woman seeks to reach their purpose and become the change that they seek in the world. They learn the heartache of life and the miracles of life. THey learn the ultimate lesson, "THE VALUE OF A WOMAN."
       
AFRICAN NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN: BLOOD AT THE ROOTS
Through a one-woman show, Reanae takes the audience on a fascinating journey of the liberation struggles of African Native American women across the diverse nations they come from. Using their stories and activism, she allows us to delve into their lives and the valuable contributions they bring to social transformation and planetary change. She also shares her own story of her ancestry of Cherokee and Choctaw while making a space for the sacred stories of African Native American women to transform our consciousness.

Reanae McNeal's Lectures:

African/African Native American/African American Storytelling
This lecture is a unique educational experience engaging audiences in a lively session of learning about the oral tradition of African and Indigenous people and how they pass on their historical legacy. It will explore the perception of the spoken word in African and Indigenous traditions.

Designed Lecture That Goes With Each Of Her Plays
Each lecture will address the issues of the play chosen. It will go into the history of African-American women and their struggles. Blues, jazz and spirituals will be sung throughout the lectures. The detail of each lecture will be given upon request and/or when the play of interest is chosen.

African Native American Women and Activism
This lecture includes the long legacy of African Native American women activist who have advocated for both African American and Native American people. Highlighting their strategies and transformational activism, Reanae takes the audience into the fascinating world of African Native Americans.

American Indian Resistance
Reanae explores land issues, colonialism, imperialism, and violence while revealing the transformative ways that Indigenous people have survived and resisted.

Women As Creative Artists
This lecture will explore the feminine contributions to the creative arts. It will delve into the challenging of traditional styles of art forms in literature, visual arts, dance, and the spoken word.

Challenging A Violent Culture
This lecture explores the violence against women and people of color. It will go into the oppressive mechanisms in the society that make the violence against these groups possible and acceptable.

African-American Women Breathing Herstory
This lecture explores the contributions of African-American women through their own voices. Reanae recites excerpts from speeches, literature, and songs of SoJourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Maya Angelou, Nikki Giovanni, Billie Holiday and many more. This lecture is powerful.

Indigenous Women Transforming the World
This lecture explores the contributions and transformative activism of Indigenous women. Drawing on stories, poetry, prayers, and chants, Reanae takes the audience on a fascinating journey.

And She Survived
Reanae tells her own story of being a rape/sexual assault survivor when she was in college as well as dealing with sexual harassment by a professor. She will include the importance of strong racial and sexual harassment regulations on college and university campuses.

Standards of Beauty
This lecture discusses the trauma of standards of beauty imposed on African-American women. It will explore the dynamics of colorism, hair, physical features, size, and African-American womens' perception of themselves.

Faces of Violence
This lecture explores gender and racial apartheid of women all over the world. It examines domestic violence, honor killings, genital multilation, rape, slave trafficking, etc. It gives voice to Global women's issues. It is informative and empowering.

Behind the Bars
This lecture deals with the dynamics of women who are imprisoned. It gives statistics and stories of the oppression and lives of women in prison and the women who end up in prison. The lecture deals with the diversity of women in prison and the unfolding of their lives. It paints a powerful and realistic picture of women Behind the Bars as Reanae tells real stories taken from women in prison.

Environmental Racism
This lecture examines environmental racism, the communities that suffer from it, and the generations of children and adults affected by it. It gives viable and thought-provoking solutions of how we can stop environmental racism.

African-Americans Changing the World
This lecture gives voice to the Sheroes and Heroes of the African-American Community. It delves into the outstanding contributions of African-American people to the society as well as the oppression that they have suffered. This lecture is great for Black History Month.

The Sons of Freedom
This lecture deals with the oppression, police brutality, and imprisonment of African-American men. It explores cultural mechanisms and stereotypes that make it possible for the continued violence against African-American men. Poetry, stories, and excerpts from rap songs are used to examine the continued oppression of African-American men.

We Are The Children
This lecture explores the oppression and violence against children globally. It examines the ways in which the world's children are violated and often times forced to live in war ridden situations. The lecture challenges the listeners to make a change for the future generations of children that will walk through the world.

American Indian Rights
This lecture explores the continued oppression of Native American people. It challenges streotypes and beliefs about Native people and hate crimes against them. It gives viable solutions on how we can stop the oppression and violence against Native people.

The Women Gathered
This lecture gives voice to powerful diverse women from around the world. It is empowering as it tells their stories and gives beauty to who they are. Great lecture for Women's Herstory Month and International Women's week.


 

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