Amoke Kubat is tired of being the one to clean up or find the solution for white women’s problems.
She is tired of “Minnesota Nice” and being labeled an “angry black woman.”
Kubat expressed the frustration of being labeled angry, when she has so many other emotions, to her friend Jennifer Johnson, a white woman. Johnson responded with her own label, “well-intentioned white girl.”
The realization led to Kubat writing her first play examining those stereotypes and tearing them down, titled Angry Black Woman and Well-Intentioned White Girl. She will perform the play in Peace Plaza from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The play delves into the dehumanizing stereotypes of both women, with the goal of starting a conversation that will spread.
“My hope is, like the Vagina Monologues, people find something in here that they can work with as a tool, as a spark, to do the things they feel in their heart they need to heal themselves, their communities, their families and get them together,” Kubat said. “Because I don’t think it will come from the top, it’s going to come from the community.”
Kubat has been pleased to hear that in some of the communities she performed for, audience members have started book clubs to continue the conversation.
When Kubat first wrote the play in 2015, she wasn’t thinking about groups other than white and black women. However, it has been brought to her attention that her play speaks to women of other races and nationalities, as well as men.
“We learned that the hidden participant, the hidden character in the play, is actually men,” Kubat said. There has been some community interest for male-only views of the play, she said, although those have yet to pan out.
Before the performance, the audience is split into three groups: women of color, white women, and men. The groups have a discussion about how they participate in “Minnesota Nice” and how they have been stereotyped in preparation for viewing the performance.
Some people may feel that they do not fit cleanly into these categories, so Kubat encourages people to join the group they feel they have the most shared experience with or feel they are perceived as. She emphasizes that the play is not about identity, but about starting conversations.
After the performance, there is more discussion and members are given the chance to make art. Kubat has seen many reactions to the play, and wants to give people time to process what they are feeling.
Dismantling longtime social conventions takes effort, she added. But it is necessary to question the societal forces behind everyday actions.
“We all need to dismantle ‘Minnesota Nice,’ that is not nice,” Kubat said. “And that has been some of the hardest post-conversations is, ‘Why can’t I be nice?’ I said, ‘We are not asking you not to be nice, we are not asking you not to do Minnesota Nice,’ it’s not real.”
Since her play premiered in 2015, Kubat has done performances in the Cities and surrounding areas. This will be her first performance in Rochester. The event is co-hosted by the Diversity Council of Rochester and Christ United Methodist Church.