Amplifying women's voices


Video above: Watch the debut of 'Amplify,' Season 2, featuring Colette Brown, Jasmine Jackson, Latifah Johnson, Marisa Hebert and Stephanie Hancock. The next episode drops on August 28.

'What impacts Black men also impacts Black women, Black children and the legacy we leave.'

By John Moore, Senior Arts Journalist

Today, the Arvada Center launched the first episode of its second season of “Amplify,” its video series giving voice to Black men and women through music, performance, dance and spoken word. Season 2 features 15 Black women whose voices have not yet been heard loudly enough – at the Arvada Center or beyond.

The "Amplify" video series is a proactive response to the racial reckoning in America that has arisen since the murders of George Floyd, Elijah McClain, Breonna Taylor and other Black Americans. All across the nation, individuals and organizations that may have counted themselves among those allied with the principles of equality and social justice suddenly found themselves taking long looks in the mirror.

"Amplify" debuted on June 26, specifically to give local Black men the opportunity to be heard through song, performance, dance and spoken word. Soon after, series producer and True West Award-winning actor Betty Hart announced that "Amplify" would return in mid-August with a second season featuring all Black women.

Read more about the origin of 'Amplify'

"Because of the response from the people, the Arvada Center now has the great privilege of amplifying more Black voices," Hart said. "From the moment this series came out, people have been asking us, 'What about the women?' Because of how the audience has received this work, we have decided to continue, this time focusing on Black women."

Hart has curated "Amplify" into taped segments of about 25 minutes each. Watch the first four episodes here. The next episode will drop on August 28 and September 11.


'Black women have spoken boldly even when they weren't heard.'

Colette Brown I performed “Today I Cried” as my "Amplify" piece. I was inspired by this very real and raw piece because it was written shortly after the George Floyd murder by the daughter of a very close friend. She has two young sons who are going to have to find their way in this world as Black males. I hear and see the same pain, frustration and anger that I experienced when my sons were young, and still now as they are men. Not much has changed. 

Black women have spoken boldly even when they weren't heard, and they have acted boldly even when they weren't acknowledged. They have been witness to the pain and suffering of Black men, women and children in this country for centuries. And now, at this point and time, when such complete disregard for the dignity of Black lives is so blatantly exposed, the voices of Black women must be amplified so that we can be a force for change.


'Black women are an irreplaceable part of the conversation.'

Jasmine JacksonI read this article recently in *The Washington Post* about the “Wall of Moms” in Portland guarding protestors. Though it focused on the attention this particular civil response received versus an earlier South Side Chicago organization of Black moms, “Mothers Against Senseless Killings”; more broadly it addressed how Black women have been treated in social-justice movements throughout the history of our country. And it got me thinking about Black suffragists, Black civil-rights organizers, the Me Too movement founder, the Black Lives Matter founders, etc. Black women who were pivotal, and are pivotal, in monumental shifts in our society. People who were ignored or overlooked or undervalued, biding their time. 

Having one’s voice perpetually unheard can be one of the most debilitating things. I can’t stress enough the importance of those historic civil movements – and others – and the current one. But shedding a bright light, amplifying Black women's voices, shouldn’t be thought of as a detraction from the “main” agenda any longer; it’s an irreplaceable part of the conversation. Regardless if it’s tired, angry, despairing, frustrated, or joyful, voice is powerful. I’m still learning that for myself.


'Black women are tired of making sure everyone else is OK.'

Latifah JohnsonThe monologue I selected is from “Day of Absence,” written in the mid 1960s. I am inspired because its message is still very relevant. In the past few months, we have heard much about “essential workers.” Black people, and other people of color, have always been essential workers, performing  jobs others considered them best suited for. Many of the women in my family were essential workers at one time or another. However, they were never praised for their hard work, nobody placed signs on their yards saying “Thank You.” What if all these workers just vanished one day?

Black women’s voices must be amplified, because we are tired of making sure everyone else is OK. What impacts Black men also impacts Black women, Black children and the legacy we leave. When we speak it is OK to allow ourselves to be the ”Angry Black Woman,” because we need to help shift the consciousness of this planet for the betterment of future generations. Our voices are amplified because we have passion and love.


'Maybe this gets to be our time.'

Marisa HebertThere is a grotesquely stunning history of Police Officers killing Black and Brown men and women in this country. As disgusting as that history is, it has become almost as normalized as school shootings. This spring has felt different. This spring, it has felt non-stop. Add on to that the incidents with Christian Cooper in Central Park, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia, and I have just been livid. The kind of livid that makes my stomach turn, and I can't seem to stop crying. I feel like I'm always in some state of grief these days. I LOVE/ED being outside, and as a Brown Lady, I notice that most of the time when I'm outside, I'm enjoying the outdoors mostly with white people. After Christian Cooper and Ahmaud Arbery, I'm having anxiety while running in the mornings, I'm anxious when I walk my dogs in the afternoons and have stopped my weekend hiking altogether. I don't feel safe doing normal outside things surrounded by white people. I feel more "othered" when I'm outside being active than any other public place right now. I had to get that off my chest. 

Black women have been historically overlooked when it comes to our activism, and our contributions to this country's shared history. The fact that I'm writing this on the same day that Kamala Harris is now the first woman of color to be on a major-party presidential ticket means that maybe we are about to get our due. That maybe this gets to be our time. Our voices, our thoughts, our stories, our lives that finally, FINALLY get to come out of the shadows and live in the sun.


'When you open your heart, love prevails'.

Stephanie HancockI wrote “The La La Song” to be reflective of The Spirit and of Life. I wrote it as a reminder that through pain and sorrow, when you open your heart, LOVE prevails. I am so honored to have been chosen to be part of this story.  

It's important to have Black women's voices amplified now and going forward to be voices of reason, truth and love. It's through deep, abiding love that we counterbalance the voices of division and hate. 

The upcoming "Amplify" lineup includes Adrienne Martin-Fullwood, Ilasiea Gray, Jada Roberts, Kristina Fountaine, Lynne Hastings, Mary Louise Lee, Michaela Murray, Sheryl McCallum, Simone St John and Therese Gardner.  

John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S. by American Theatre Magazine during his time at The Denver Post. He also is the founder of The Denver Actors Fund, and is now contributing reports for the local theatre community for ArvadaCenter.Org. Reach him at

Amplify Women montage 600The women of 'Amplify': Top row, from left: Adrienne Martin-Fullwood, Colette Brown, Ilasiea Gray, Jada Roberts and Jasmine Jackson. Second row: Kristina Fountaine, Latifah Johnson, Lynne Hastings, Marisa Hebert and Mary Louise Lee. Third row: Michaela Murray, Sheryl McCallum, Simone St John, Stephanie Hancock and Therese Gardner.   

Read more: Arvada Center announces restructured 2021 theatre season

Arvada Center statement

The Arvada Center issued the above statement after the police murder of George Floyd.
Home,Reignite the Arts,Donate Now,Donate Now,Corporate Giving,Art Circle,2023-2024 Theatre Season,Renew,Visit Us,View All Events,Roland Bernier: In Other Words,Word Play,Animal Farm,Big Band Royalty,Lola Montejo: After Another After,Floyd D. Tunson: Ascent,Anthony Garcia Sr: Pigment,A Tribute to the Boston Pops,The CJRO presents A Night of Sizzling Soul with Larry Braggs,Pink Martini featuring China Forbes,Carlou D,Pamela Webb: Hand + Hammer,Lauri Lynnxe Murphy: Seeing the Trees For the Forest,Pink Progression: Collaborations,Imprint: Print Educators of Colorado,528.0 Regional Juried Printmaking Exhibition,Wood.Works,Carley Warren: Three Pieces,Viral Influence: Art in the Time of Coronavirus,Brady Smith: (Don’t be embarrassed by) Your Trouble with Living,Melody Epperson: 100 Years + 1,Blurring The Line,Dawes,Melissa Etheridge,Narkita Gold: Black In Denver,Australian Pink Floyd,José González,Art of the State 2022,Into The Woods,Elle King,Madeleine Peyroux In Concert,One Sheet,The River Bride,Fine Art Market,Holiday Pottery Sale,The History of African American Music Part 3,Hazel Miller and the Collective: Christmas with Soul,Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,Colorado Abstract +10: A Survey,Gary Staab: Second Nature,Flora: Scientific Botanical Illustrations of Colorado Plants,Charlotte's Web,Art + Science,Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition,Arts For All Gala,Wendy Kowynia: Following the Thread,Spring Pottery Sale,Teacher Appreciation Concert,Damn Yankees,Bueno: Mark Bueno,Mary Poppins,Denver Gay Men's Chorus: Divas, Icons and Justice Warriors,Our Town,The Book Club Play,Guitar Stars and Friends,The Denver Brass: In Pursuit of Leisure,Swing, Swing, Swing: Benny and Beyond ,Spamalot,A Night at the Movies with the Colorado Symphony,Toad the Wet Sprocket and Cracker,Ramón Bonilla: The boundary lines have fallen in pleasant places for me.,Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812,Noises Off,Keb' Mo',Boz Scaggs,Lucero,The Ladies of Soul,Ben Folds,Drawn: From The Source,Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella,Day of African Culture,Cleo Parker Robinson Dance presents Living the Lush Life,Face Vocal Band,Mozart Under Moonlight,George Thorogood and the Destroyers,Indigo Girls,Big Draw Colorado,Collective Soul,Rockley Instrument Sale,Latin Sounds From Legendary Artists,Honoring Dance Legends: Great teachers and choreographers of the 20th century,An Evening with Holocaust Survivor Sara Moses,Latitude 37° Art of Southern Colorado,A Tribute to Chick Corea with Eric Gunnison,Big Band Royalty: Nothin’ But the Blues,Allyship & Advocacy in Action: Supporting the LGBTQAI+ Community,The Laramie Project Talkbacks with Judy and Dennis Shepard,A Year With Frog and Toad,Beautiful - The Carole King Musical,Colcha Embroidery of the San Luis Valley,The Laramie Project,Emilio Lobato: A Mi Manera A 40-Year Survey,Dining Partners,Amplify,Theatre,Upcoming Shows,2023-2024 Theatre Season,Performances for Students,Auditions,A Year with Frog and Toad auditions,Galleries,Current Exhibitions,Gallery Events,Upcoming Exhibitions,Art Sales,Art Submissions,Sculpture Field,History Museum,Archive,Education,View All Classes,Summer Camps,Full Day,Summer Camp Performances,FAQ,Classes for Kids,Classes for Adults,Ceramics,Front Range Youth Symphony,Dance Classes,Links and Forms,Arts Day,Arts Day Outreach,Ageless Adults,Scholarships,Yesterado,Yesterado,Field Trips and Outreach,ECE Field Trips,K-5 Field Trips,Middle and High School Field Trips,Outreach Programs,Preschool Partnership Program,Music and Dance,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra,Summer Concerts,Humanities,Private Event Rentals,Caterers,Vendors,Straight Talk Series ,Straight Talk with Philip Sneed,COVID’s toll on Colorado theatre: 224 productions and counting ,Straight Talk with Lynne Collins,Straight Talk with Rod Lansberry,Straight Talk with Phamaly, Buntport, Colorado Shakes and Rocky Mountain Rep,Straight Talk with Creede Rep, Town Hall, Candlelight and Theatre Company of Lafayette,Straight Talk with Aurora Fox, BDT Stage, Cherry Creek Theatre and Misfits,Straight Talk with Su Teatro, Vintage, Backstage and Counterweight,Straight Talk with Local Theater Company, Theater 29, The Source and Equinox,Straight Talk with the Denver Center, Jesters Dinner Theatre, Glenwood Vaudeville Revue and Germinal Stage-Denver,Actors' union issues safety guidelines for re-opening,Straight Talk with square product, Forge Light, Springs Ensemble Theatre and Coal Creek Theatre of Louisville,Straight Talk with the Fine Arts Center, Miners Alley Playhouse, Dangerous Theatre and Lone Tree Arts Center ,Straight Talk with Lake Dillon Theatre Company, Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company and Northglenn Arts,Straight Talk with The Catamounts, Bas Bleu and Thingamajig,Straight Talk with Curious Theatre Company,Straight Talk with OpenStage, Firehouse and Adams Mystery Playhouse,Straight Talk with Platte Valley Players and Theatreworks,Straight Talk with Parker Arts, Stories on Stage and Thunder River ,Staight Talk 2 with Philip Sneed: This much is uncertain,Pivoting With,Pivoting with The Black Actors Guild,Pivoting with ... Emily Van Fleet and Nathan Jones,Pivoting With ... Tammy Franklin and the Curtain Playhouse,Pivoting With Nick Sugar and the Town Hall Arts Center,Pivoting With Helen Murray and the Aurora Fox,Pivoting with Edith Weiss and Christy Montour Larson,Pivoting With Scott RC Levy and the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company,Pivoting with Todd Debrecini for Halloween,Pivoting with Ashley Campbell,Pivoting with Meghan Anderson Doyle,Pivoting with Jenna Moll Reyes,Pivoting with Erik Fellenstein,Pivoting with Ray Bailey ,Pivoting with Tara Falk,Community News,Inside the Arvada Center,All About Printmaking Techniques,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Collin Parson ,Christina Noel-Adcock,"Bright Star" cast unveils video as message of hope,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Christine Moore,Humans of the Arvada Center: Steven Cogswell,Humans of the Arvada Center: Ashi K. Smythe,City of Arvada to install new sculpture in Hoskinson Park,Humans of the Arvada Center Jessie Page,Humans of the Arvada Center Cal Meakins,Humans of the Arvada Center: Adam Stolte,Supreme Court workplace ruling hits home for Lisa Leafgreen,'Time for talk is over': Arvada Center launch 'Amplify' series to raise black male voices,Humans of the Arvada Center Jon Olson ,Humans of the Arvada Center: Abygail Rosales,Revealing The Dialogue,Amplify Epiode 3 launches, series expanding to include black women,Photo Blog: Sweeney Todd Rehearsals,Humans of the Arvada Center: Gabriel Morales,Cleo Parker Robinson dances back in the box with Arvada Center,Amplify turns the mic over to local Black women ,Beth Malone bringing 'joy bomb' to Arvada Center oon September 4,Humans of the Arvada Center: Meet Emily King,Amplify Women Episode 2,Special Book Honors Special Dance Teacher,amplify-series-comes-to-powerful-conclusion,Take a stroll through 'Sculpture in the Field',Lessons from a summer of outdoor theatre in the time of COVID ,Humans of the Arvada Center: John Hamilton,Doreen Montalvo in Denver: Compassion and grit,Betty Hart's presidential promise: Build a bigger tent,Humans of the Arvada Center: Brenna Clendaniel and Sophia Koop,On being Black in Denver and all the colors that it brings,2020 True West Awards: Buntpivot ,2020 True West Awards: Lily Bradford,2020 True West Awards: The Scenesters,2020 True West Awards: Podcastic,2020 True West Awards: Phamaly takes 'Honk' to Japan,2020 True West Awards: Christine Moore,2020 True West Awards: Alive Inside,2020 True West Awards: Michael Ensminger,True West Awards: They Wrote the Book,True West Awards: Rent-A-Pals,True West Awards: Of Spacious Skies,True West Awards: Christopher Page-Sanders,2020 True West Awards: Suffer the little children,2020 True West Awards: Spirit of Giving,2020 True West Awards: Secret Gardeners,2020 True West Awards: Denis Berkfeldt,2020 True West Awards: Amplify,2020 True West Awards: Reclaiming One Star,2020 True West Awards: William Hahn and Jessica Robblee,2020 True West Awards: Lisa Wagner Erickson,20 for 20,Meet the Frasers,Lucy Roucis' final act is a gutpunch,Reunite the Arts Collin Parson,Jodie Steeves and Nancy Terry,Reunite the Arts Lisa Leafgreen,Remembering John Gratkins,Reunite the Arts: From our CEO,Danielle Johnson Q&A,Reunite the Arts Lynne Collins,The Show Must Go On,Diana and Mike Kinsey,Get to Know Kazu Oba,Meet Suzanna Champion,The Gear of Million Dollar Quartet,FRYS and the Symphony,Get to Know Carlou D,Stories From the Studio,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Lares Feliciano,21 for 21,An interview with Geoffrey Kent: The Liar,An interview with Jada Suzanne Dixon: Stick Fly,An interview with Jessica Robblee: Animal Farm,Fast Facts About Kinky Boots,Costume Department Boots Up,Rod A Lansberry Announces Retirement from Arvada Center,Lynne Collins Named Artistic Director of Arvada Center Theatre,Getting to Know José González,Getting to Know Joan Osborne and Madeleine Peyroux,The Many Sounds of Carlou D,Setting the mood: Into the Woods Set Designer Brian Mallgrave,Into the Woods Directors Note,The River Bride Director's Note,What is Magical Realism?,Hispanic Heritage Month: Meet Ana María Hernando,Meet Ceramics Artist Luanne Burke,From student to teacher: Hadley’s story,Tackling the Beast,Be Like Belle on Colorado Gives Day,Things to Know About Our Town,Creating the Look of Our Town: A Q and A with Set Designer Brian Mallgrave,Whatever Lola Wants - A Deep Dive into the Damn Yankees Signature Song,Selling Your Soul - A Pop Culture Favorite,The Book Club Play Reads,Metatheatre Elements in Our Town - When a Play Knows It's a Play,90s Throwback Vibe with Arvada Center 2023 Summer Concert Series,Colorado Jazz Repertory Orchestra at the Arvada Center,Opening Acts of the Arvada Center 2023 Summer Concert Series,Getting to know Baaba Maal,Big Draw Highlights,The Music of Keb' Mo,Getting to Know Lucero,The People at the Indigo Girls ,Listen to the hits of Carole King with this playlist,Carole King: The Writer Behind The Music,Summer Internship at The Arvada Center,Arvada Center journeys to Southern Colorado : A Photo Diary,Volunteer,About Us,Ticketing Policies,Group Tickets,Ticket Discounts,Contact Us,Accessibility,Health and Safety,Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Access,Careers,Tours,Adopt an Actor 2023,Adopt An Artwork,Temp,Land Acknowledgement,What To Expect at the Theatre,One Sheet Music,Gift Certificates,LGBT Resources,Errors,404,Privacy Policy,Our Town Synopsis,Concessions,Summer Preorders,Arvada Center awarded Social Impact Theatre Grant from Biller Family Foundation