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Aixa Kendrick Plays 'The Black Madonna' in New Black Lives Matter PSA

Mary, The Black Madonna is the brainchild of writer and director John Michael Reefer.

Aixa Kendrick Plays 'The Black Madonna' in New Black Lives Matter PSA

On the heels of her most recent career accolade- winning the Best Actress prize at the 2020 Harlem Hip Hop Film Festival- actress and activist Aixa Kendrick is turning to social media for the launch of her latest project- a startling and powerful new public service announcement about mothers and the Black Lives Matter movement.

In Mary, The Black Madonna, Kendrick plays the title role of a modern day woman of color married to a man named Joseph, and who loses her son. The story that she shares in the 60 second spot is, according to Kendrick, "Raw, real, devastating, timely... and timeless."

And while the spot is scheduled to be unveiled on multiple social media platforms just in time for Christmas, the subject matter packs such a wallop that the actress believes it will continue to play well past the holiday season and into a still uncertain new year.

"2020 has definitely been the ultimate annus horribilis- a traumatic year that will be remembered for many sad reasons," she says. "I know we want to believe that change is coming in the New Year. Our society is yet again at the crossroads- a true turning point- especially regarding issues of race and social justice. Therefore, I'm truly honored to be an integral part of a project that utilizes such an iconic female force whose true passion, fortitude and faith eulogizes the plight of so many black mothers in 2020, and that is a stark reminder of just how far we have to go in 2021 and beyond."

i?? Mary, The Black Madonna is the brainchild of writer and director John Michael Reefer, who pitched the concept and script to Kendrick at the height of the Covid 19 pandemic this past summer, in the aftermath of the George Floyd tragedy and subsequent social uprising. It arose from his desire to somehow exercise his creative muscles during the shutdown period and to use his art to speak to the moment that was unfolding across the United States and the world.

"The idea was an exploration of the perennial struggle and pain of mothers- especially black mothers- who lose their children as a result of state sanctioned violence throughout history," says Reefer. "Artists of all disciplines have the opportunity to lift up what is good about the culture. We also have the responsibility to shine a light on what is wrong and not working for the human condition. I hope my work does both well."

The dual responsibility of artist as activist has also always gone hand in hand for Kendrick, and the role of the Black Madonna is yet another opportunity for her to explore a character and a story that she believes can enhance the human knowledge and understanding of important socio- cultural issues.

Her resume already includes such iconic mythical and historical female figures as Oya-The Warrior Wind Goddess in Baba David D. Wright's theatrical dance drama of the same name; General Oni Balewa - the real life leader of an all female army of African warriors in Layon Gray's Black Sparta, and the title role of abolitionist and women's rights activist Sojourner Truth in Cesi Davidson's stage play Sojourner's Truth.

"When I got my first look at John's ideas via text - the basic concept and the dialogue- I didn't quite get it. It seemed so stark, simple, basic. I wasn't sure who this woman was or where this was going. But once we spoke, and I understood his vision, I was floored. I won't say too much...The impact for an audience is in that 60 second discovery of finding out who this woman is and what she represents. But I think what we have created is stunning."

Kendrick earned her Best Actress award at the 2020 Hip Hop Film Festival for her leading role in writer - director Laura Fielder's psychological suspense drama The Company You Keep.

She can soon be seen in yet another socially conscious artistic venture- the ensemble project Silent Truth - a collaborative silent video short that symbolically represents the last 8 minutes and 46 seconds of George Floyd's life.

Kendrick is repped by The Talent Express NY Management.

Photo credit: David Rhodes.


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