By tsjones16, Jun 26 2020 05:46PM

Photo Creidt Jess Costa/WBUR
Photo Creidt Jess Costa/WBUR

"To be a Black actor in Boston means to prepare oneself bodily to walk into white spaces, to learn how to translate themselves to suit the needs of others. Jones refuses to do it.

'I do not enjoy code-switching,' Jones said. 'it gives me so much anxiety and so many of the theaters in Boston, at least the ones I've worked, really require you to code-switch to be understood or else people will look at you like you're an alien.'"

This pasted week I was featured in an amazingly tender and blunt piece written by Cristela Guerra for WBUR. Read this article look at the truth in it. Believe Queer Black Womxn, and create action because we are excepting nothing less. What does my ideal arts future look like? Queer BIPOC Womxn Lead.

>> To read the full article, click here.

By tsjones16, Jun 26 2020 05:32PM

This Juneteeth 2020, I will be on a panel called Brides Of The Deity: Black Queer Possession With Cultural Uprisings moderated by Harold Steward, Producing Co-Executive Director of The Theater Offensive.

The panel includes Boston performer and playwright Dev Blair, and National Black Theater Artistic Director Jonathan McCrory, and myself.

Guided by the insight and work of local Black Queer scholars, artists, and activists, we will examine historical and contemporary Black queer figures, profiles, and practices of stewarding cultural uprisings. This panel is a Boston Globe virtual event taking place on June 19 from 4:00pm - 5:00pm.

In Yoruba and other African spiritual traditions, possession by spirits is connected to the people’s existence. When possessed, one is regarded as a “bride” of the deity, becoming the conduit between our world and the divine.

As QTPOC cultural organizers, we understand that uprisings are also moments of immense creativity, connection, and movement building as we imagine our future. But what drives our passion and commitment to liberation? What guides us as we build a new world?

I would love for you to join us in conversation this Friday. Click here to RSVP.

By tsjones16, Jun 26 2020 05:20PM

Tonasia was beyond thrilled to join Company One in their National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of WOLF PLAY by Hansol Jung. Tonasia brought to life the south-paw boxer about to go pro, ASH.

“Jung is in a class of her own… The play simultaneously celebrates our extraordinary capacity for love, exposes our nastiest inclinations toward selfishness, and admonishes the injustices of our social systems.” — Broadway World

Iiiiiiiin this corner, we have southpaw boxer Ash, who’s on the verge of her pro debut when her wife Robin adopts a Korean boy off the internet without technically checking in with Ash first. Aaaaaaaaand in this corner, we have the boy’s first pair of adoptive parents, who were all set to unadopt him until they realized he’d be growing up... without a dad. Now, the boy is caught in the middle, and just wants to find his wolfpack. Hansol Jung’s WOLF PLAY is a deeply theatrical hunt for familial connection in the wilds of 21st century America.

>> Company One Theatre is producing WOLF PLAY to AMPLIFY

– that every child deserves love and a fighting chance to heal from personal and cultural trauma

– the many ways people become family, and the extreme lengths they may go to protect the pack

– the tools needed to navigate the thin dividing line between vulnerability and violence

– local efforts to support the lived experiences of transracial and transnational adoptees

– accessible theatre that opens conversations for all, thanks to Pay-What-You-Want ticketing and the support of the Boston Public Library

WOLF PLAY ran January 30 – February 29, 2020 at Rabb Hall @ Boston Public Library – Central Branch in Copley Square.


"Ash, Jeenu's other mother, is played by Tonasia Jones, a reliably electric presence on stage. She lends the character a protected-ness and loving defensiveness that suggest a history and depth which exists beyond the language Jung has published. Perhaps, it is she, amongst all the actors, who delivers the most fervid scenes with the small puppet."

- Andrew Child, Broadway World Boston

"ASH (Tonasia Jones as the voice of reason)....I’m angry to the point of violence because Hansol Jung, Summer L. Williams, the cast and the C1 crew told a compelling story with sincere truth."

- Kitty Drexel, The New England Theater Geek

"Director Summer L. Williams guides this exceptional cast with clarity and grace through these difficult, dynamic relationships, and the unexpected connections the wolf/child makes as he navigates his new “pack.”"

- Joyce Kulhawik, Joyce's Choices

By tsjones16, Jan 17 2020 04:59PM

Sometimes you write a thing on facebook because you see all the wonderful black theater artists around you internalizing things they shouldn't. Sometimes you get angry because how dare the white people in charge make us feel liek this on the regular. And sometimes is goes viral and gets shared by over 105 people on Facebook.


A post for White Theater Audiences and Practitioners who call themselves Allies during February (BUT REALLY FOR THE ENTIRE YEAR):

As more and more theaters in the New England area are producing shows that are more diverse and inclusive, there is also a rising feeling of entitlement from white theater audiences and practitioners (who are also friends and colleagues). So I thought I'd write a post for you reminding you of a few things:

1.) Black artists, practitioners, administrators, and playwrights owe you nothing. We do not OWE you an explanation for the work we do, especially if it is work made for black audience members. Just like Samuel Beckett did not owe you an explanation of "Waiting for Godot," we do not owe you an explanation for "Passover." Asking black people, theater companies, and playwrights to give you an explanation for their works assumes that we report and are subservient to you.

We are not, and neither is our art. If you are wrestling with the meaning of a play talk it through with some other white allies, do your own research, -- hell, I don't know -- organize a play reading book club. Decipher the meaning for yourself (like you have been doing for all the other plays you've seen). You do not need your black friend to help you do that. That is lazy. If you call yourself an "ally" or "liberal," you should be doing this work. The motto of education being in your own hands does not stop at college. It is in the real world too.

2.) It is not black people's responsibility to take care of your mental health. If there is an affinity space offered for the black audience after a show depicting the black experience and/or speaking from the black experience, do not -- I REPEAT -- do not get upset, angry, or question why you are not included in that space.

If you are feeling any of these feelings -- I IMPLORE YOU -- please take a moment to ask yourself, "Why am I feeling this way?", "Where are these emotions coming from?" and "What are these emotions rooted in?" We, minorities, are entitled to have white free spaces because so many of the areas we move through every day are assumed "white-only spaces." Does it scare you to not be included in black peoples conversations? Check yourself because that "might be" latent racism. To be honest, when white people (no matter how good of friends we are or good of intentions you have) are in a room, it causes black folks to police themselves [for more information, please read what W.E.B Dubois writes about double consciousness]. Being policed by white people in the theater is something that happens in Boston ALL THE TIME. So if we ask or are granted one space to unpack and breathe through years of oppression (that your race inflicted), please leave it for us.

Thinking that it is a black persons' responsibility to take care of your mental health is you asking for a magical negro [see astronomy club skit below] and racist. It is asking us to put your feelings above our own, to put a white person before ourselves. Think about David Mamet's plays, and how there's never a space to take care of you after that, but you still went to his damn shows.

Lastly, if you are still struggling to understand this, please think of yourself, leaving that affinity space as a form of reparations that we are now collecting.

3.) Please do not use words that describe our work as juvenile. Before using words like silly, frivolous, foolish, etc. Please take a second a think that you might be face to face with a new cultural experience. Instead of chalking someone's actual life experience up to being childish, do your research. Also, please reflect on the fact that when colonial white Europeans came to America and Africa, they used similar adjectives to describe and belittle Native American and African cultures and traditions. Then proceed to enslave, steal land, and own us using those adjectives as reasons. Read a few books or plays by black or POC authors. If you look at the past ten plays you've read, and they all have been by white authors, you are not culturally intelligent.

4.) Last but not least. Don't tell us how to do our jobs unless you are our immediate supervisor. Nine times out of ten, we've thought of a better way to do what is being done. Eight times out of ten, we've told the producers how, why, and what it needs to be. Ten times out of ten, they are too afraid, too busy, don't care enough, or don't have enough resources to do it to the full extent. So instead of telling us, how about you tell the people who have the real choice to make it happen (i.e. the Artistic Directors, General Managers, Marketing Administrators of that organization).

For those of you who've read the whole thing: Thank you! For those of you who have just gone to the bottom to get the overall meaning -- here it is. You cannot be an ally if you do not do the work and stop relying on Black Folks to solve your problems. As they say in the astronomy club on Netflix, "[We] are more than the advice we give white people." Before you ask a black person, please do the *hard* thing yourself. The time of being an ally who relies on marginalized groups to make a change is over. Because guess what? We cannot do this alone. We do not have the privilege to do this alone. We've died doing this alone. So from now on, if you have the nerve to call yourself an ally, I want action, or it didn't happen.

Allies please feel free to share if you are and do have friends that do these things. As I have drawn boundaries in my life and know a lot of the folks reading this already understand.

By tsjones16, Oct 17 2019 02:21PM

Some how some way I have tricked these people at the Emerson College Career Offices that I am qualified and responsible enough to be on an upcoming Emerson College Alumni Panel.

All truth being said, I loved my time in college I learned alot of lessons I wasn't ready to learn, and alot of lessons I didn't see the value in until after graduation. I am beyond excited to come back and speak about my time there and how I got to where I am today. I still have alot of growing to do, alot of learning, alot more of developing my craft I am realizing that to speak on my experience where it is now. That in speaking I am not saying "I am done growing or learning." In fact -- It is to saying "I am STILL growing. STILL learning. And maybe you can gleam something from my journey, but if you don't that is alright as well." As mentors at Emerson College told me, "Take every piece of advice as a grain of salt."

Wanna come listen to my story, and probably crack jokes come to Emerson Colleges Family Weekend Emerson Alumni Panel!

When: Saturday, October 19th @ 2PM

Where: The Semel Theater (10 Boylston Place)

What: Whether your student's graduation is three years away, in a few months or anywhere between, thinking about next steps post-Emerson can bring up a range of feelings. At this inaugural panel, alumni from various majors in both the School of Communication and School of the Arts will discuss their career paths, the state of their industries, and how Emerson helped them get to where they are now. And there will be ample time to ask the panelists questions during the Q&A period about anything they didn't cover and what you want to know more about! This exciting, new session is open to all Emerson students and their family members.

Link for tickets is here!