"I have learned in my life to realize there are traumatic things that happen, that are really hurtful and painful, but even in the trauma, the hurt and the pain, beauty can be birthed out of that."
Reanae McNeal has been described as a remarkable young woman of indomitable spirit. She has been considered by many as one of the most creative and thought-provoking voices of her generation.
Njoki Kamau, associate director of Northwestern University Women's Center described her as "Very powerful and creative."
Argus news reporter Julie Jensen describes her as "Funny, completely in earnest and never 'preachy', offering a faith that goes far beyond a Sunday sermon and engenders power in the powerless."
Dartmouth College Sexual Assault Coordinator, Susan Marine describes her as "An amazingly astute performer with an eye for the universal in the human experience."
Quad City Times news reporters, Alma Gaul and Barb Arland-Fye, describe her as "A spirit celebrated, who sings and dances to the beat of life. Listen to her, watch her, and you will understand how this expressive woman mesmerizes audiences and wins awards for her creative works."
Wisconsin Education Journal News & Views said "Through her characters she encouraged everyone to keep on dreaming and concluded with a message of hope and pride."
University of Oregon Student describes her as "An angel that has come to earth."
Ohio Wesleyan Philosophy Professor Carol Powers says "There is an extraordinary sense of fairness and justice in Reanae's message that cuts across the margins of oppression and offers hope to all women and other oppressed groups."
Award-winning independent filmaker Aishah Shahidah Simmons says "On the dawn of the 21st century, there is a growing international movement of young women of color cultural workers who use their work as a form of resistance against all forms of violence. Reanae McNeal's work is at the forefront of this movement."
Laura X director of the National Clearinghouse on Marital and Date Rape, said "When I saw Reanae McNeals' presentation, I laughed and cried and was tremendously moved as was the vast majority of the audience."
Quincy Herald news reporter Deborah Gertz says she is "Spreading the healing. Everytime Reanae McNeal takes the stage it is a reminder of how far she has come: from a victim to a survivor."
She is an international treasure who has lived to tell a message of perserverance, faith, healing, and self-liberation. Though she has been described by many as so many things Reanae says, "I am simply a child of God ordained and purposed to help others to heal, acknowledge their divine purpose, and recognize the beauty and worth in each human being and whether that is through speaking, teaching, or my art, I will do that deep rooted purpose embedded on the DNA of my SPIRIT!"
Reanae is an international performing artist, vocalist, motivational speaker, griottes (storyteller), and trainer. She is an award-winning playwright and the recipient of many community awards including the Afro-Heart Award, Women of A Stolen Legacy Award, and NAACP Appreciation Award.
Reanae has toured extensively across the United States, Russia, Hungary, and Italy. She has been a cultural ambassador in the performing arts in Russia under the special invitation of The Russian Ministry of Culture and participated in many cross-cultural exchanges. She toured the many cities of Russia under the sponsorship of the International Arts Institute telling AfricanAmerican stories and folktales.
Reanae also received a special invitation from the American Friends Service Committee East/West Program to participate in a Political Roma/African-American Exchange in Hungary. She sang traditional blues and civil rights resistance music as she conveyed the deep struggle that birthed the music.
A published poet and award winning playwright, her poem "A Word" dedicated to Dr. Betty Shabazz (widow of Malcolm X), was a finalist in the 1994 National Iowa Woman Poetry competition. She has been published in national journals such as "Sisters Across Cultures" and "Running Deer Press".
Her play "Brown vs. The Board of Education" won the Regional 1994 Texas History Drama Competition. Her play "Slave Shout" won the 1995 Texas History Drama Competition and placed 6th in the 1996 National History Drama Competition.
Some of her many originally written plays and performances include:
- "Black Women in Transition"
- "Where Have All The Black Men Gone?"
- Blood at the Roots: African Native American Women
- "Blues Women Don't Wear No Shoes"
- "My Soul Got a Bruise On It"
- and her acclaimed play, "Don't Speak My Mother's Name in Vain