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6-5-1: April Matthis

By 651 ARTS on November 14, 2014

In an effort to help our audience know more about the artists 651 ARTS presents, we have developed the 6-5-1 Interview—six questions, five minutes, one artist. This interview spotlights Triple Consciousness discussant and performer April Matthis.

  1. What’s your morning routine?
    • Depending on what day it is and where I am, my morning routine can be all over the place. For the past two weeks I’ve been here in Minneapolis, so my morning routine is crawl out of bed somewhere around 10 o’clock and scrounge for food and slowly, slowly get myself together while I’m talking to my suitemate Okwui Okpokwasili who is doing Scaffold Room as well. Starting Tuesday when I’m back in New York City, it will be about 6 o’clock getting my 5 year old ready for kindergarten and taking the 45 minute commute to her school and then probably coffee with my husband after that.


  2. What’s your fondest memory of being a black girl?
    • When I was around 11 and my sister was 4 years old, one time our parents were sleeping and for some reason I told my sister that I was her mother, I was her real mother. That I had given birth to her when I was 9 years old because I knew that some girls could get their period when they were 9. It was scary but I had heard that that could happen. So I was always teasing my little sister and she was always ready for a fight – very strong and mighty even though she was a quarter of my size when she was that little. I told her to get some kind of respect from her. She doubted it at first and then I said that our mother was actually her grandmother and decided to raise her as her own child and had me pretend to be her sister so that she could grow up with a normal childhood. She looked really confused and then she slowly started to hug me and I felt so bad and I just started laughing and then I said nah I’m just playing.


  3. Double Dutch or Jacks and why?
    • Double Dutch because hand-eye coordination in Jacks, I just never got the hang of it. You bounce the ball and while the ball is in the air you grab some jacks – I forget what you do with Jacks. Double Dutch looks pretty and you’re airborne instead of a small rubber ball and you get to be outside and, if you can do it successfully and not get tangled up in the rope, it’s cool as hell.


  4. If you could visit any place in the world where would it be and why?
    • I think Gramercy Park in New York City because New York City just feels like the always sensible place for us to live right now. Yes, it’s great to have more space and have a yard for your kid and pay a reasonable amount of rent according to what you make and to have peace in quite. But when I’m in beautiful, quiet, calm, clean cities I think what would I be doing here, I need to be doing something for my career, and my husband’s a musician so we need that life energy. And my husband is French. I am conversive in French but I speak English a whole lot better.  I work in using my knowledge of the English language to a large extent. It’s important for me to work and I think, “oh, what about Hollywood,” and it just doesn’t excite me. The isolation of your car, not running into the whole world on the street, in the subway, it’s not exciting to me. New York still feels like a world hub and where I want to be. At Gramercy Park, that kind of secret private park that only certain people in that area have access to, it’s like a bit of a sanctuary. I got to go in it once when I first moved here and I was rehearsing a play and somebody who lived there let us use her apartment to rehearse. It was a little bit of that sanctuary, that quiet but then you could still go get great Thai food any time you want and I think that’s important for life - to have good Thai food nearby.


  5. What’s going to be fly, fresh, and fun about being a black woman in 50 years?
    • I think there are black hair care products at every hotel, that it’s just a given that everybody gets issued that no matter what your hair type is. You get a supply of Argan oil and a big vat of conditioner and No-Poo shampoo and hairpins. That’s just made available to you. Your inherent beauty is taken for granted. There doesn’t have to be a song “I like my skin” it would be assumed because everyone knows it. There would be an interest in a black woman’s ideas, her sense of humor, what she has to offer, but her beauty would not be questioned.


  6. How do you love?
    • I love humbly, gratefully, quietly, and earnestly.

651 ARTS would like to thank April Matthis for answering our six questions that give a better glimpse of the artists we present. Stay tuned for more artist interviews. Keep up with 651 ARTS by downloading our app from Google Play or the Apple Store or follow us on Facebook and Twitter by clicking on the links to the right.

This interview was transcribed from an audio recorded conversation.





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