Dietra Kelsey: Whose side are you on?
Tyler Williams | 8/10/2017, 8:58 a.m.
This week, the Amsterdam News spoke with the playwright Dietra Kelsey about her upcoming play and other works she has created in her media career. According to her biography, Kelsey’s journey began in her birthplace of Washington, D.C. She graduated from Hampton University to pursue her love for acting, which led her to accomplishments not only in her acting career but also in her writing career.
Host and producer of “Sistah Talk TV Show,” Kelsey has an upcoming new project that will address the issues of gang affiliation and gun violence. The project is a play titled, “Whose Side Are You On,” for which Kelsey is not only the playwright but also the executive producer.
She is also an executive producer of “Astrology Numerology Now,” which features professional astrologer and numerologist, Zakkee Z. Starman.
“I think there is a connection,” said Kelsey when asked her opinion on astrology and numerology. “It helps me understand people better. Naturally, I have strong intuition.”
Kelsey stated that “Sistah Talk TV Show,” is “more than just talk.”
She added, “We have a live audience and participation.” The live audience participates in the topics that are being discussed on the show. The TV audience can call in to the show to talk about a topic when the show is live. The show is televised live Saturdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., according to the “Sistah Talk TV Show” Facebook page.
When asked what inspired her to write and produce “Whose Side Are You On,” Kelsey said the Rev. Ermine Johnson asked her to write a play about gang violence. Kelsey also noted that she got the title idea from an Abraham Lincoln quote: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
“I wrote it and gave it to him [the Rev. Johnson] to present at his church, Greater Harvest Baptist Church, in Washington, D.C.,” said Kelsey. “However, a year later, he made his transition.”
The Rev. Johnson died a year ago of cancer.
“Out of his memory, I decided to produce the play,” said Kelsey.
The play is a gospel musical that highlights the issues of gun violence and gang violence. It is a dynamic and spirited musical about gang violence in Washington D.C. In the play 12-year-old Lamont Spencer witnesses his father’s killing. At age 16, Lamont must decide whether to stay with the gang that avenged his father’s death or seek salvation in the church his father attended.
Kelsey told the Amsterdam News that the play highlights the impact a father has on a family. According to Kelsey, even though she understands that families survive without a father, just having a father is important. “The older I get, the more I understand the family unit,” said Kelsey.
Kelsey noted that performances of “Whose Side Are You On” will begin in September 2017. “We decided we needed additional funds to have a great production,” she said.
Donations to support the production can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/whosesideareyouon.
The play will be hosted by DeMone Seraphin.