Ah-Keisha McCants

Project Director,
Sound Thinking NYC

Native New Yorker, Ah-Keisha began working professionally as a writer and performer at the age of 14. As rap artist, Kindred Wisdom, she wrote and performed songs for NBC’s The Cosby Mysteries. Her song, “Can I Get A Witness,” won her recognition in the Billboard Songwriting Awards. As a songwriter Ah-Keisha has written for renowned jazz/blues artist, Olu Dara, and blues singer Cassandra Wilson. At 16, her first play, Great Women of Color, was produced and ran at the Whitefire Theatre in Los Angeles, California. At 19, she made her NYC Off Off Broadway debut with her interactive poetic play Café Millennium and she has been featured in the Source Magazine and reviewed in Backstage Magazine as “The future of theatre and contemporary art.” Café Millennium garnered Ah-Keisha a Rising Star AUDELCO® Award, notoriety from Playbill MagazineTime Out New YorkThe Daily News, the Village Voice, and Courier Post. She was Co-Artistic Director of Harlem theatre company Live Theatre Gang from 2000-2006. There she produced and/or directed over a dozen long-running plays and variety shows, including: Printz of PoetsGreat Men & Women of Color, the political satire, Haters, as well as the traveling run of Café Millennium, and the holiday musical, Sista Scrooge.

 

As a filmmaker, Ah-Keisha produced, wrote, directed and edited the short film Greenhouse which was an Official Selection for 2014 Reel Women of the Diaspora Film Festival, 2014 African American Women of Cinema Film Festival, the 2014 Afronaut(a): exploration in film series at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater in Pittsburgh, and the 2014 Shooting Wall Film Festival at PhilaMOCA in Philly. Greenhouse tackles mental health and childhood abandonment in an art driven narrative. The film has been in the Amsterdam NewsIndieWire, and featured on ABC’s news and culture show, Here and Now. In March 2017, Ah-Keisha was invited to the CAMRA Scholarship Media Festival on “The Psyche and the Boundaries of the Political,” at Annenberg School of Communications where she screened the film, and spoke on the panel, “Historiographies of Racial Trauma,” about the role race and racism plays in issues of mental health at the intersection of childhood development and community responsibility. 

 

A Theatre, Media Arts and Literacy Educator for over 15 years, Ah-Keisha has led workshops for students across diverse demographics including K-12, college, non-profits, and mental health and rehabilitation centers. Ah-Keisha holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, and M.S. Ed in Reading, Writing, and Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania. Ah-Keisha is currently the Editor-In-Chief at Black History Mini Docs, an online 90 second visual cliff notes documentary series for the digital-age, and consultant for Whole Body Literacy.

 

Ah-Keisha is an adjunct professor and teaches a course, Applied Theatre Thesis 1 (APTH 690) in the Masters of Arts in Applied Theatre program at CUNY SPS. Graduate student-scholars develop their research and thesis question in preparation for completing their Master’s Thesis and group and individual proposal. Students work with community partners to develop their pedagogical stance and research approach through weekly seminars, writing assignments, theatre arts facilitation-integration, community-building initiatives, and social justice-informed action-research.

CUNY

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