I was in the sixth grade at Fair Middle School when I started to be a playwright. My dad has his master’s degree in film. He inspired me to write because he always talked about writing plays in college. We have always had similar interests.
When I started middle school, my parents enrolled me at Pillsbury House, which is an after-school program that provides theatre activities and is located in South Minneapolis. I attended this creative place from sixth grade to eighth grade before moving to North Minneapolis. Pillsbury House is where I could write plays and act them out as well. My experience at Pillsbury was fun because I made a lot of friends who had the same interests as me. I went to some writing camps, including one in Red Wing, Minnesota, back in seventh grade. I also did different improv activities, so when we were going to act out the play we were playing out different character actions or telling stories. I only did improv up until eighth grade.
Those experiences helped me develop an interest in writing plays. After I performed my first play at Pillsbury in sixth grade, a fantasy, my dad told me, “I’m proud of you, Aminah.” Then I learned that I can achieve anything I put my mind to because I have potential. Playwriting for me gives me the courage to express and be myself. I enjoy expressing humor and that’s how I get to be myself without being judged. My first play gave me the idea to be an actor or film director. I have always loved watching Black sitcoms, and I like to read. I like seeing Black success. These sitcoms also talk about historically Black colleges and universities and racism. That inspires me to go to an HBCU so I can get the experience of being at this type of college. Black comedy sitcoms have attracted me because I like the way they express themselves and I like growing up seeing people like me who are funny. Because of all this, I would like to be part of the Black comedy sitcom industry and to pursue this as a career.
The concept of playwriting gives me ingenuity because I can become innovative. For example, I came up with the idea to do my first play relating to fantasy. This is innovative because nobody thought of this idea before. The play was about Star, a narwhal, and a unicorn named Rainbow. I played the unicorn, and another student played the narwhal. They go on an adventure to Cookie Land and overcome some obstacles on the way. One of the obstacles was going over a very long, dangerous bridge. They almost fell off the bridge, and that would be really bad because they would be severely injured. In the end, they got past their obstacles while making many jokes to get through it. The main idea of the story was to always find some way to smile through all the negative things that come your way, which can include dealing with fake friends, arguments with others and trying but failing.
What caused me to write this story was a fascination in fantasy and adventure. As I watched my words come to life when writing plays, there was anxiousness because I wouldn’t know if people would understand my humor, and I have a fear of messing up. But I persevered because I have strength to continue on and also because I feel like different is OK. What caused me to persevere is myself because I really want to strive for success and my plays have the message of striving for success. If you really want something, including fame to some extent, wealth, money, good grades, happiness, etc. you have to work hard. I know I will use the determination I have to achieve all of these things and more.