Book Black Women Inc. - Organization creates space for local Black women in the arts

By Kate Griffin, posted 4 months ago
Producing artistic events such as the Trap N Poetry (above) provides a new outlet for Black women to showcase their skills in poetry, dancing, string instrument performances and more - Photo by Ayana Washington

Slam poetry, stage productions, concerts and more, Book Black Women showcases all the artistic skill and talent the Black women of the Fayetteville and North Carolina area have to offer. 

“Being a Black woman in the arts, it can be difficult, it moves at a slower pace when it comes to things that are progressing everywhere else in the world,” said Ayana Washington, sole founder and CEO of Book Black Women. “Black women have a tough time, we get boxed in, there are certain roles we can’t access.” 

“Book Black Women is a performance entity unlike any other,” Washington added. Washington’s extensive background in the arts as a thespian and actress has laid the necessary foundation and know-how to kickstart and cultivate a performance organization unique in its field. “Anything to do with the arts is what I’m curating,” said Washington. “To give Black women a chance to try something different.” 

Book Black Women bears no shortage of exciting upcoming events. These include YaYa’s Amateur Night at Cape Fear Regional Theatre in April and a Juneteenth Block Party happening on Maxwell Street on June 22. Washington’s original work “400 Years: The Evolution of Black America” is coming again to Seabrook Auditorium on June 19 and 20. 

“It’s so different to direct something that someone else has written and putting your own spin on that, but it’s a whole different beast to share something that’s original and see how that’s received,” said Washington. “But the people loved it, so that was my proudest moment, giving something to the public and having them like it!” 

The first event was in February of 2022, a concert entitled “Four Women” at SkyView on Hay in downtown Fayetteville. 

“I wasn’t expecting it to be as well received as it was, I didn’t know what this business was going to grow into,” said Washington. “People wanted more, so I just try to keep it going.” 

Since then, Book Black Women has made numerous ventures with partnerships and events like different concerts, slam poetry night and more. Book Black Women has partnered with No Longer Bound Entertainment, Fayetteville State University, the Culture and Heritage Alliance and more to offer Fayetteville high quality artistic events and resources. Book Black Women expertly does its part in remedying the lack of recognition of Black female artists in the community.

“I create the event, let Black women bring their art to that event, the audience comes and sees something that they don’t see often here,” said Washington. “I think it shifts the way people think.”

Washington has events in the works for the future as well, including a concert series entitled ‘Black in Broadway.’ “It’s going to be all types of music and shows that we would never get, when I say ‘we’, I mean Black women would never get cast for,” said Washington. “It’s gonna be just that: songs you wouldn’t normally get to hear Black women singing.”

The organization also offers dance, voice and acting classes and hosts audition opportunities for stage productions. It’s an all in one space for Black women to learn necessary skills and branch out. Book Black Women helps keep the arts alive and shines a well-deserved light on the excellence of the community, while offering opportunities to learn, grow and network.

Potential future clients and other parties interested are encouraged to swing by the website, or reach out via email for more information on client services, classes, partnerships and connections and event coordinating. Donation and collaboration opportunities are available under the ‘connect’ tab on the website for anyone looking to get involved with supporting artistry, specifically Black women in the arts in the Fayetteville area. 

“My biggest accomplishment is networking, connecting with people in the community, I do not think I would’ve met the people that I’m working with currently had I not formed this business,” said Washington. “And it's all types of people in all types of artistic entities, so I’m grateful for this business and the opportunity to meet these people.”

Book Black Women is a one-of-a-kind organization that—literally and figuratively—sets the stage to showcase Black women’s artistic talents. It truly is a multifaceted artistic organization. For the aspiring artist looking for visibility or to hone their skills, or for the local looking for a fun night out they can feel good about, Book Black Women has it all. 

“I just really wanted a space where Black women are able to just be. Whatever that means to them.” said Washington. “Not having someone else tell them ‘no this is where you’re supposed to be’ ‘this is what you’re supposed to do.’ And so that’s honestly why it’s created, just to create the spaces.”

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