You know what we never talk about? That I am a poet and a spoken word artist and I have performed nationally since 2009. I feel like I often get a deer in headlights look when I tell people that I perform spoken word, it’s almost as if they don’t know how to react. I have performed in large stage productions and I have always been responsible for styling myself.
I was recently a cast member in the spoken word stage play Coochie Chronicles. The stage play speaks to the narrative and of the issues that women of color. I wanted to make a statement when with my wardrobe. I wanted to present myself in a very sexy way to juxtapose the strong pieces that I would perform. I wanted to show that a black woman can be sexy, smart, socially aware. and sure of herself without having to downplay the way she looks.
Are you a stand-up comedian? Are you a singer? Are you a public speaker? How you present yourself on stage is a part of your performance. I can tell you first hand that when my outfit doesn’t photograph well it haunts me. I have been styling myself on stage and have learned the tricks of the trade. Here are my three tips on ensuring you’re ready for the hot stage lights.
More is More
Bright lights tend to wash out minor details. If you have a subtle understated style some of the more intricate details may not be seen from the back row. If you will be in a dark theater or club performing with a bright spotlight shining down on you be sure to up the ante. Bold jewelry, bright colors, and shiny details. Play with color and contrast to create visual interest in your look just keep in mind that sometimes a busy print may not be as appealing on stage as it is close up.
Bird’s Eye View
Before I wear something on stage I take a few pictures in the outfit. Looking in the mirror is not the same point of view as seeing it in a picture. Think of this picture as a first draft you will be able to edit the look before you hit the stage. Wrinkles are photogenic consider having your outfit pressed at the dry cleaners or iron it yourself. Once you are on stage and people post pictures of your performance there are no take backs, maybe you can untag yourself, but social media lives forever.
Show Your Truth
My on-stage look may be different than yours but these tips still apply. I can not stress this point enough bright lights tell no lies. Whether you want to admit it or not the moment you step on stage you are representing yourself. What do you want people to walk away with after they experience you or the character you are portraying. Your on stage look speaks before you do. Your performance and your on stage look need to speak your truth.
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