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 2013 Critics Pick for Best Actress and the 2015 Suzi Bass Award winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in a play. In Fall 2013, she presented (dis)possessed: the live mixtape, a one-woman theatrical performance art project she conceived, at Spelman College’s Museum of Fine Art as 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 2016.
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 is a 2014 IDEA CAPITAL grant recipient and the 2016 Living Walls Inaugural Laura Calle grant winner.
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.