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A monologue from the play by Radha Blank
RASHAWN ( twenty-one, African American)
Rashawn, from Harlem, slipped through the cracks of the NYC foster care system to find herself incarcerated in the NYS penal system.
During a surprise visit from her old social worker Anne, Rashawn describes a plate she created in her prison ceramics class.
I knew what I was doing. And ain’t nobody show me, neevah. See, I put that plate back on the spindle. And I start spinnin’ it. I put a big ol’ glob of burgundy paint in the middle.
Then I take my finger and I puuulll the paint to the edge as it’s spinning but making these squiggly lines. Then I plop on some bright yellow. I pull it. I put another color, orange, I think.
Pull. Another color. Another. And I pull and pull ‘til my plate look like a sun- all these colors shooting out the middle? Now it’s colorful and all that but I ain’t tryna put that sh*t on nobody wall—it’s still a f***ing plate.
So I put a border around it, you know, to hold all that color? Blue. Cobalt blue, teacher say. And when it dry . . . it was . . . it was . . . (Rashawn sees the marvel in her own hands)
And er’body looking . . . Mary. Jeanine. Quanda. Looking. Staring. HATIN’. Cuz it’s the best sh*t goin’, kna-mean? Word. So while Mary, Jeanine, Quanda, all them b*tches . . . while they looking, staring, hating . . .
I just—BLOAW! Pieces of that sh*t ALL OVER, yo! You shoulda seen motherf***as faces, yo! N*ggas was like, “what the f*** Shawn thinking?! The f*** she doing?” And I’m like,
I do cuz I can, n*gga! Them b*tches could never make no sh*t like that. They wish.