The Essentialisn’t


Eisa Davis is a performer, composer, and playwright who uses her work as a site to contemplate notions of private, social, and ecological being.

Artist Bio

The Essentialisn’t troubles expected narratives of the diasporic black feminine and questions the artist’s relationships to performance and captivity. The work utilizes an innovative combination of song, electronic sound, movement, everyday objects, and reanimated modernist figures from the Harlem Renaissance to cultivate a practice of presence and sovereignty.


Award Year
2020
Status

In Progress

A black woman with curls tumbling in the wind has just smelled a delicate yellow flower and reveals an inner pleasure from the scent

Eisa Davis

Brooklyn, NY

Eisa Davis is a performer, composer, and playwright who uses her work as a site to contemplate notions of private, social, and ecological being. A recipient of the Herb Alpert Award and an Obie winner for Sustained Excellence in Performance, Davis was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for her play Bulrusher, and wrote and starred in the stage memoir Angela’s Mixtape. She is also the author of Mushroom, Ramp, Warriors Don’t Cry, Paper Armor, and The History of Light. Collaborations include the text for Cirque du Soleil’s first ice show, Crystal, Hip Hop Anansi, Active Ingredients, a musical adaptation of Walter Mosley’s Devil In A Blue Dress, and Spike Lee’s Netflix series She’s Gotta Have It. Something Else, an album of acoustic soul, and Tinctures, an electronica EP, are collections of her original music. Davis’ film, television, and stage work includes Carrie Mae Weems’ Grace Notes/Past Tense, The Looming Tower, House of Cards, The Wire, The Secret Life of Bees musical, and Passing Strange. She has received fellowships and residencies from Cave Canem, New Dramatists, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Yaddo, MacDowell, and Sundance.