Danielle Deadwyler American, b. 1982


"My work explores how lines are blurred in the labor of black women, especially  domestic and sexual work, and the impacts on the black body."


- Danielle Deadwyler

Danielle Deadwyler is a multidisciplinary performance artist, actor, and filmmaker. An Atlanta native, Deadwyler's practice is rooted in theatre, dance, and creative writing.


"My work explores how lines are blurred in the labor of black women, especially domestic and sexual work, and the impacts on the black body. I’m interested in emboldening black women's subjectivity within live performance engagement in local communities, a framework for navigating what I call Black Americana chaos. Creating spaces for interfacing with black female subjectivity as a daily being in myriad social spheres, as a pedestalized marvel in live performances, film works, sonic/lyrical play, and objects is my daily investment.”


Deadwyler began her career appearing on stage productions, later branching out to art in all its forms.  "The multimedia works come out of a need to represent what it feels like to be in multiple worlds and to work in a non-linear process. It is in effort to meet myself, the multigenerational community in which I engage, and myriad others where they are...be that in movement, film, performance, public/private, et. al. It's a stretching. And it comes in no one format. Each project calls forth its own modalities and mapping. Often one form leads, and calls back to the others to join the party."


Hometown staples such as Gate City Heritage House, Total Dance Theatre, Gary Harrison Studios, Atlanta Street Theatre, Henry W. Grady High School, and Spelman College cumulatively honed Deadwyler amongst a distinctly Southern landscape. As a graduate student under Dr. Robin D. G. Kelley, she focused her analysis on issues facing women and African Americans while attaining a Master’s of Arts in American Studies from Columbia University.


As a professional actor, Deadwyler has performed in productions with Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre, Horizon Theatre, Synchronicity Theatre, Theatrical Outfit, Aurora Theatre and the Tony Award winning Alliance Theatre.  She is the Creative Loafing Atlanta Critics Pick for Best Actress (2013) and Reader’s Pick for Best Performance Artist (2017). In 2015 she was the winning recipient of the Suzi Bass Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a play. Deadwyler has since performed in numerous television and film roles, presented nationally and internationally, including Watchmen (HBO), Atlanta (FX), FBI: Most Wanted (CBS), Being Mary Jane (BET), and as Quita Maxwell on Tyler Perry’s The Haves & The Have Nots (OWN), among a host of independent films and experimental works. As a filmmaker and producer, Deadwyler’s work has been screened in the Creative Loafing Atlanta shorts contest (2011); WonderRoot Local Film night (2013/2015), and Hartsfield International Airport (2016), New Orleans Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival, and Oxford Film Fest. The multimedia project MuhfuckaNeva(Luvd)Uhs: Real Live Girl film was the Jury award winner of the WonderRoot Film Night (2015).  She also starred in and co-produced the American Black Film Festival 2014 HBO Shorts Official Selection Ir/Reconcilable, a short film starring Jasmine Guy, Dick Gregory and Crystal Fox. Her short film, SuPerHeRoInUh, screened amongst ten finalists as a part of the Airport Shorts 3.0 program, and the Atlanta Film Festival 40th anniversary, at Hartsfield Jackson Airport for the duration of a year. CHOR(E)S, her most recent experimental work, was the jury award winner for experimental film at New Orleans Film Fest (2020) and bustitOpen, an experimental documentary she helmed, was the recipient of the Georgia Film Award at the Atlanta Film Festival.


As performance artist, Deadwyler’s race and gender-centric works have been included in MAMBU BADU collective's exhibition If We Came From Nowhere Here, Why Can't We Go Somewhere There? (D.C.), Mint Gallery (ATL), Whitespace Gallery (ATL), The Luminary (STL), Atlanta Contemporary Museum, Atlanta Film Festival, among others.  She presented (dis)possessed: the live mixtape (2013), a one-woman theatrical performance art project, at Spelman College’s Museum of Fine Art as a part of their Black Box series.  Numerous grants have supported Deadwyler’s works, from IDEA CAPITAL (2014/2017), ELEVATE Atlanta, Living Walls (2016), Synchronicity Theatre Stripped Bare Lab, WonderRoot Walthall Fellowship, and Artadia. She is a former Atlanta Film Festival Filmmaker-in-Residence and former MINT Leap Year Residency Fellow.



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