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Project: Susan

When Susan Hawley was a sophomore in college, she fell in love with a doctoral student from Nigeria. They got married, had two children, and just as their dream life seemed like it was coalescing, her husband went back to Nigeria to visit his family and never contacted her again—leaving her a Midwestern white lady with two African babies. They were desperately poor; Susan began gaining weight rapidly, soon reaching 400 pounds. These were the cards she was dealt. Ahamefule J. Oluo’s theatrical work, Susan, tells his mother’s story as a means to tell the story of millions of women. It is a tangible crystallization of how race, class and size affect people all over the world every day. Despite all that darkness, Susan will be funny. It’s a collection of wry, black, but humane monologues, interspersed with live, grand-scale orchestral music.

Awardee: Ahamefule J. Oluo

Performing Arts, 2016

Ahamefule J. Oluo is a Seattle-based musician, composer, writer and stand-up comic. Oluo is a founding member of and trumpet player in The Stranger’s Genius Award-winning jazz-punk quartet Industrial Revelation, and was featured in City Arts Magazine’s 2013 Future List as one of Seattle’s most promising and exciting artists. Oluo has collaborated with such diverse artists as Das Racist, Macklemore, Hey Marseilles, and TacocaT. He was a semi-finalist in NBC’s Stand Up for Diversity comedy competition, and co-produced comedian (and writing partner) Hari Kondaboluo’s debut album, Waiting for 2042, for Kill Rock Stars. He was the first ever artist-in-residence at Seattle’s Town Hall, and his 2014 performance of Now I’m Fine at On the Boards received universal acclaim and will be in the New York Under the Radar festival in January 2016.

http://nowimfine.com