Artist. Innovator. Sanctifier of female sexuality.
Danielle Deadwyler is a congregation of artistic personas and firebrand talent. Her sophisticated spunk and ingenuity is reflected on stages, screens, and pages.
The Atlanta native's artistry is rooted in theatre, dance, and creative writing. Nurtured at hometown staples such as Gate City Heritage House, Total Dance Theatre, Gary Harrison Studios, Atlanta Street Theatre, Henry W. Grady High, and Spelman College, Deadwyler’s skills have been honed almost wholly amongst a distinctly Southern landscape. After venturing north to study under Dr. Robin D. G. Kelley, she deepened her analysis of issues facing women and African Americans while attaining a Master’s of Arts in American Studies from Columbia University.
Now in her creative prime, Ms. Deadwyler has recorded three sonic projects, performed in regional theatre productions, produced music videos, short films, and exhibited works in various community and gallery platforms.
As a professional actor, Deadwyler has performed in productions with Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Aurora Theatre and the Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre. She is the Creative Loafing Atlanta Critics Pick for Best Actress (2013) and Reader’s Pick for Best Performance Artist (2017). 2015 found her the winning recipient of the Suzi Bass Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a play. She presented (dis)possessed: the live mixtape in Fall 2013, a one-woman theatrical performance art project she conceived, at Spelman College’s Museum of Fine Art as a part of their Black Box series. 2013 also led to experimental work with artist/filmmaker Tiona McClodden (Harriet's Gun Media) on her Be Alarmed: The Black Americana Epic series.
In 2012, her made-for-television movie debut occurred in A Cross to Bear on the Up Network. As the film’s lead, she played opposite popular figures Kim Fields, Malinda Williams, Jackie Long, and Kenny Lattimore. 2013 led to another leading film role opposite Gbenga Akinnagbe in Sweet, Sweet Country, an award winning short film exploring immigrant dreams in America. She went on, in 2015, to a guest-star role in BET’s Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union, as well as joining the cast of Tyler Perry’s and OWN Network’s The Haves & The Have Nots as the hard-nosed sister to Quincy, Quita Maxwell.
As a budding filmmaker and producer, Deadwyler’s first short film Brummagem (2011) was listed as a semi-finalist in the first annual Creative Loafing Atlanta shorts contest. Her video, Do Not Resuscitate, was a WonderRoot Local Film night finalist (2013), while the short video for her multimedia project MuhfuckaNeva(Luvd)Uhs: Real Live Girl was the Jury award winner (2015). She also starred in and produced the American Black Film Festival 2014 HBO Shorts Official Selection Ir/Reconcilable, a short film starring Jasmine Guy, Dick Gregory and Crystal Fox. Her short film, SuPerHeRoInUh, was selected amongst ten finalists as a part of the Airport Shorts 3.0 program, coinciding with the Atlanta Film Festival 40th anniversary, to screen at Hartsfield Jackson Airport in the International Terminal for the duration of a year.
As poet and performance artist, Deadwyler is an observer/practitioner of all things hiphop culture and gender-centric. Her video/performance works have been included in MAMBU BADU collective's exhibition If We Came From Nowhere Here, Why Can't We Go Somewhere There? (D.C.), Mint Gallery (ATL), Whitespace Gallery (ATL), The Luminary (STL), Atlanta Film Festival, among others. She has been supported by grants from IDEA CAPITAL (2014), ELEVATE Atlanta, and was the 2016 Living Walls Inaugural Laura Calle grant winner. She is an Atlanta Film Festival Filmmaker-in-Residence and a WonderRoot Walthall Fellow.
With filmmaking, poetry and performance art as primary media, filtered through experimental and theatrical exhibition structures, public/private work (or endurance), gender/sexuality and hiphop, and public performance/community dialogue, are content central to my practice.
My work explores how lines are blurred in the work of black women, especial are domestic and sexual work, and the impact the work has on the black body. Family and social ranking as intertwined or offsprings to the black body are of interest as well, and polysemy as vocal, sonic and performative subjects in black female livelihood. I’m interested in marrying black women subjects to live performance engagement in local communities. Creating space for interfacing with black female subjectivity as a daily being, as a pedestalized marvel in live performances and in film works and lyrical play.