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Rosa Parks A Bus Ride with Rosa Parks Harriet Tubman A Journey to Freedom Marian Anderson A Lady of Elegance
A Visit with Madam CJ Walker Mae Jemison A Voyage in Space Benjamin Banneker
Wilma Rudolph Catch me if you can Rachel Clark The Divas
Bessie Coleman Fly with me Fannie Lou Hamer I'm Pressin On Miss Oprah Winfrey
Negro Spirituals / Ella Sheppard Pathways Shirley Chisholm She's Unbossed and Unbought

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About Joanna

MISSION STATEMENT

"It is my belief that we can be inspired by those who lived before us, who despite the obstacles they faced in life continued to pursue their dreams. Children, young adults and adults need to be inspired to dream, achieve and believe in themselves."

Joanna is a professional actress, singer and storyteller. She has appeared in numerous national television and radio commercials and corporate videos. She has been appeared in "In the Heat of the Night" and "The Tonight Show," with Jay Leno.

Combining her musical and acting talents, Joanna "truly becomes the characters she portrays." Joanna captivates audiences with her dramatic portrayals of historical Black women such as Marian Anderson, Wilma Rudolph, Bessie Coleman, Dr. Mae Jemison, and Madame CJ Walker. "Her performances are riveting."

From "A Journey to Freedom with Harriet Tubman, to "A Bus Ride with Rosa Parks," to "Life Lessons from the Divas," motivational edutainment as Joanna sings, impersonates and pays tribute to Tina Turner, Diana Ross and Whitney Houston. Joanna has the look and the pipes. "The Diva Tribute," has taken Joanna from Las Vegas , to Paris France . Joanna presents "live history lessons," for all ages at universities, schools, museums, festivals, corporate functions, community events, and churches nationwide.

Joanna was commissioned by Annette Wise of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site to write and perform a one-woman play about Rachel Clark.

Rachel Clark was a woman who had a profound influence on the 39th President of the United States, President Jimmy Carter. The play is entitled, "Raising a President, the story of Rachel Clark and Jimmy Carter. Joanna had the esteemed honor to perform the play for President Carter on September 29, 2004 in Plains, GA in celebration of his 80th birthday.

Joanna is a graduate of The University of Georgia where she received a BFA degree in Theatre.


 

MY PASSION

I am blessed to be able to make my living doing what I love. I encourage young people to find their passion in life.  My motto is "Find your passion and focus on it." Your passion is something you love. For me it's presenting one-woman shows of historical women. If you find your passion, you will never work a day in your life because your work will be something you love to do. I love what I do. It is an absolute joy.

If there is something you have always wanted to do, don't put it off another moment just do it. I didn't want to be 80 years old telling my grandkids what I could have done.  Woulda, shoulda, coulda. Why live in the past? Now is your moment. SEIZE IT!!! 

 

 

 

 DISCIPLINES

Singing
I love to sing. I grew up singing in my church choir. A friend and I were asked to sing at my church and my dear sister, Sonja must have played the introduction to "Do Lord" half a dozen times and neither of us sang a note. My mother insisted that we sing the following Sunday. I learned an important lesson and I am so thankful for my Mother's persistence. She taught me to persevere, and to always do my best. She made me feel like I could fly to the moon if I set my mind to it. I know in my heart she is looking down on me from heaven with a smile on her face saying, "That's my bird."
I sang in my church choir throughout my childhood using my gift to glorify God. My first professional singing job was at the Crystal Pistol Music Hall at Six Flags over Georgia .

  After seeing my brother, Collins perform as a featured singer on a cruise liner I knew I had to return to my first love. You should have seen me trying to get a front row seat to see him. I was so proud of him.Thanks little brother for inspiring me. I am now singing for my supper.

Acting
In the talent competition of the Miss Bainbridge Contest I dramatized the poem, The Creation by James Weldon Johnson. From that moment I knew I was on to something special. I performed The Creation at several churches in my hometown of Bainbridge Ga. I attended college at the University of Ga where I majored in drama. Upon completion of my Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts I entered the real world of acting. I  toured with the Alliance Theatre's Umbrella Players of Atlanta GA , and the Flat Rock Playhouse in North Carolina . I  appeared in national television commercials and coporate videos.

Storytelling
I love storytelling. Storytelling is my passion. Students ask me all the time when did you start telling stories. I think I was born telling stories. I can't remember a time when I wasn't telling or making up stories. I was the child that you did not want to ask what happened because you knew you would get a never-ending story. I used to have talent shows with my cousins and we'd make up stories afterwards. I would turn down the lights and try to tell them the scariest story I could think of. When my sons started school I followed them and told stories to their class. I read to the students and told original stories. I looked forward to my visits with the students. I would walk down the halls and the students would say, "I remember you, you're the storyteller." I was a volunteer storyteller at Russell Elementary for ten years.  I am a presently a "Bookpal" at Sanders Elementary where I tell stories to Miss Bonn's third grade class. 

Historical Women
God gave me Harriet Tubman and she has set me free. Free to pursue my passion. God laid it on my heart that I should do something special for the students for Black History Month. I give all the glory to God for my new career. I put my trust in him and stepped out on faith. I put Him first in my life and what a difference it has made.
It all started with Harriet Tubman. After researching and writing her life story I put Harriet Tubman in my file for three years until my friend Joyce Harrison asked me to present Harriet Tubman at her school. Thank you Joyce all I needed was a date.
My first performance of Harriet Tubman was in 1999 and I have since added Rosa Parks, Madame CJ Walker, Marian Anderson, Dr. Mae Jemison, Bessie Coleman, Wilma Rudolph and Rachel Clark, Jane Deveaux, Emma Quinney, and Matilda Beasley. I think I'll stop there. Alas I hear Josephine Baker and Billie Holiday calling out to me.

"The Divas"
I simply loved playing dress up as a child. To my sister's dismay I experimented with her false eyelashes before she had a chance to. It was just a matter of time before I decided to do a musical show wearing gowns, wigs and false eyelashes. A fellow storyteller suggested I impersonate Diana Ross. So I thought why not pay homage to my favorite three singers. I decided to impersonate Whitney Houston paying tribute to two fabulous DIVAS that came before her, Diana Ross and Tina Turner. Two successful artists who some 40 years ago were not able to enter through the front door of hotels nor eat in public restaurants or use public facilities. These women endured those hardships and persevered. In doing so they paved the way for countless other talented artists.


 

"My greatest achievement"

I am the proud mother of three sons, Jai a gifted actor/singer living in LA, Julian aka Slikk, talented rapper/writer/producer, and Jevon an aspiring baseball and basketball player.

Mommie loves you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


 

     

COMMENTS

  "Joanna literally mesmerized the students with her portrayal of Harriet Tubman. It was as if Harriet Tubman was standing right there in our presence. Simply wonderful. I highly recommend her performance to all ages." Joyce Harrison / Teacher

  • "I have been here for 20 years and this was the best performance we have ever had." "Life Lesssons from the Divas" Tom Jones McClesky Middle School"
  • "Joanna has truly been blessed with a special talent for storytelling. Her enthusiasm and each story's interest level keeps any audience involved and wanting more." Jean Murray Russell Elementary

  • “I didn’t want the singing to end.  Wonderful performance.” Teacher /Eastside Elementary
  •  “Your show has inspired me to follow my dreams.”  “You can sang!”
     Students /Cordele Middle School         
     
    “You have really done your research on the women you represent.  Thank you for sharing your talent with the GA State community. “  
    Tonya Cook GA State University
    “What an awesome gift God has given you. You are one of my “Sheroes.” Thanks for Sharing. Thanks for the lesson!”
     Dr. Shirley H. Hardin Valdosta State College
     
     “Joanna literally mesmerized the students with her portrayal of Harriet Tubman.  It was as if Harriet Tubman was standing right there in our presence. Simply wonderful. I highly recommend her performance to all ages.”
    Joyce Harrison / Teacher  
    “Few people can brighten the faces of children like Joanna.. Her energy and enthusiasm is contagious. She has mastered the art of telling stories, which capture the imagination and challenge the heart. Expect your child to ask the question. Can Joanna tell another?”
     Reggie Joyner      President Co- Essentials of Character Education
     
    Joanna captivates audiences of all ages with her creative stories and portrayals of historical figures. We particularly enjoyed Joanna as Harriet Tubman. She truly becomes her characters.
     
    Career Highlights
    • National Associatio of Black Storytellers Featured Teller 2006
    • Jimmy Carter National Historic Site, Plains GA
    • Igcita Convention, Las Vegas Nevada
    •  Chateau Elan Resort, Braselton GA \

    • The Club, Baldhead Island NC

    • United Posters Convention, St. Louis MS, Baltimore MD, Atlanta GA Georgia State University, Atlanta GA

    • Valdosta State University, Valdosta GA

    •  Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw GA

    •  University of Georgia, Athens GA

    •  University of Texas, Arlington GA

    •  Clayton College, Morrow GA

    •  Teaching Museum North, Roswell GA

    •  Columbus Museum, Columbus GA

    •  Old Massie School Museum, Savannah GA

    •  The Grand Theatre, Cartersville GA

    •  Arts in Black Festival Tifton GA

    •  Albany Municipal Auditorium, Albany GA

    •  Salvation Army, Atlanta GA

    •  Golden Isles Arts, Brunswick GA

    •  Storyteller in Residence, Barnesville GA

    •  Affiliations Screen Actor's Guild

      •  American Federation of Radio and Television Artists

      •  National Storytelling Network

      •  National Association of Black Storytellers

      •  Kuumba Storytellers of Georgia

      •  Approved Touring Artist of the Fulton County School Arts Program  

        Approved Artist of Character through the Arts 

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