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Me and art. And I've just been sort of doing it. I never expected to do it full time, ever. [...] I have been asked to write a one woman play about myself, and my life, and call [it]working title: 'I'm Not Your Preconceived Notion.' And I'm not.

About Valerie Stephens

The illustrious Valerie Stephens is a proud, native Bostonian whose works come from exploring. Her career as a performing artist and arts educator has crossed national borders, taking her to West Africa, the Caribbean, and Europe. Ms. Stephens is a storyteller, singer, actor, producer, and a self-proclaimed “hustler of the arts”.  She has acted with the New Africa Company, Underground Railway Theater, and Company One.  A product of an era of funk as well as radical Black love and resistance, Ms. Stephens weaves her love of history into her work, blurring the line between art and activism. She also pours into Boston youth through museum, school and library programming, and events like Princess Day: Celebrating Little Girls of Color held in Roxbury, instilling confidence, teaching little known history, and challenging young people to embrace their creativity. Her vocal and storytelling works include NINA & Hip Hop, The Mammy Diaries, Women of the Village among others.

"I am an Evolution of My Own": Fragments of Valerie Stephens's Living Legacy

I'm an evolution of my own. From, you know, that young woman who was gangly and tall with a round baby face. You know, she's still a part of me. But I have tools and developed tools and understand the need for being supported in surrounding yourself. And being an artist has liberated me. And it’s given me all this space. When I tell young folks—and I've taught a lot of classes—we tend to underestimate our babies. But I tell them, once you're creative, it has opened. It will never close. And it'll always be there for you. You might not use it, but you will never see anything the same way. And that's true. It changes. You know, it changes you as a creative person. And we're all creative. We just tend not to use that.

Darryl's Corner Bar & Kitchen

My strength as an actor was telling stories, you know, monologues, that’s storytelling. And I went to work and I said, oh, I can do that. And that's why I became a storyteller. And I was fascinated by The Last Poets and Gil Scott-Heron and that notion of poetry and music. And I was like oh, let me try some of that And I would hook up with a vocalist and have them sing the song and I do the poetry. But then I couldn't find a vocalist. So I said, ‘Well, I'll become a vocalist, I’ll do my own singing.’ And that's what I did.


Most people who are creative, they don't make money at it. And maybe 1% of those who are creative make money, a large sum of money. You know, I don't think folks who go into art go in to make money because if you do, you definitely chose the wrong path. You know, there's something that pushes you, there's a passion, a fire. You know.

Valerie Stephens Musical Group Performance

Company One's "Neighbors"

Women of the Village

College Performance

Co-Creation Team

Shavaun Sutton

Ph.D in History

Shavaun Sutton is a second-year doctoral student. She holds an M.A. in public health in Community Health Sciences from SUNY Downstate School of Public Health.

Vanessa Torres

Ph.D in History

Vanessa Torres (She/Her/Ella) graduated from University of California, Irvine with a B.A. in Chicana/o/x-Latina/o/x Studies with a double minor in Latin American Studies and Literary Journalism in 2021. She currently pursing an Ph.D in history at Northeastern University.