A “beat” according to http://actorpal.com, which has an online glossary of acting terminology, means a “deliberate and slight pause…in dialogue or an action.” Today we are going to take a beat in the “action” of our busy days to meet a very special Philadelphia native who is an actress, writer, editor, and all-around entertainer working to put out positive images of women, especially in a reprise of an upcoming role in the play His Majesty Herself, which tells the story of Hatshepsut, the ancient Egyptian female Pharaoh. Here is a little bit from her bio, the rest can be found on her Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shaahn/186878444673629?sk=info.
Raised by a single-parent mother in North Philadelphia, who sacrificed her own wants and desires in an effort to nurture her youngest daughter’s love for the stage, Sha’ahn started out by perfecting her impersonations of the people around her. Her mother, Linda, noticed how Sha’ahn had a knack for imitating people spot-on and began introducing popular movie characters to her little girl’s repertoire. “Sha’ahn would perform for anybody, anywhere,” her mother said. “She’d stand on a table in McDonald’s and imitate Mae West, and we would all end up eating for free.” But Sha’ahn’s mother wasn’t always given a free ride. “I know Sha’ahn was meant to perform, but I couldn’t really afford the training, so I would take out loans to pay her school fees. I rarely even bought new clothes for myself because it meant more to me to help my youngest girl live her dream,” Linda said.
The struggle paid off. Sha’ahn attended Philadelphia’s prestigious Freedom Theater for years, before being accepted into the High School for Creative and Performing Arts where she majored in Dance and Theater Arts. In her senior year, Sha’ahn co-founded a dance group that performed all around the city for various recording artists. While attending Temple University’s School of Communications and Theater, Sha’ahn was a short-term member of the school’s dance team, the Diamond Gems. Sha’ahn later left the team, and focused on her studies, which eventually landed her an internship with NPR in Philadelphia. “My original goal was to be a news anchor, but I ended up doing production and writing instead, which is a talent I’ve perfected over the years,” she added.
Sha’ahn’s career would eventually take her from in front of the camera to behind it as a writer and editor. After taking a nearly ten-year hiatus from the mainstream industry to serve her country as a Marine combat correspondent, and to focus on family life, Sha’ahn returned to the stage in 2009 as Ruth in the Hallam Theater’s production of Raisin in the Sun. Now more focused and determined as ever, Sha’ahn decided to take control of her career and charge full steam ahead. “I truly enjoy interviewing others and telling their stories, but I feel it’s my time to pursue the spotlight again, and for good this time,” she quipped.
The naturally gifted actress walked into an audition in Silver Spring, Maryland for an MSNBC re-enactment series of the D.C. Sniper saga and secured a lead role — beating out dozens of women vying to play the part of Mildred Muhammad. “I actually submitted for this role twice,” Sha’ahn laughed. “I guess the second time is the charm.” Her performance was well-received and resulted in other lead roles in indie short films and a supporting role in the feature film, Life Fine Tuned, set to be released in theaters this summer. Additionally, Sha’ahn fills in from time to time as a co-host for the popular internet radio show, CapaCity Radio.
Not content to wait for her ship to come in, but to swim out and meet it, Sha’ahn’s aspirations include more film, television and commercial work, and an eventual move to NYC. She holds a B.A. in Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media from Temple University.
Sha’ahn Williams’ story is truly an inspirational one, and I look forward to interviewing her later on this week. Check back in to read the Staccato Beat’s interview with entertainer-extraordinaire Sha’ahn! Also be sure to like Sha’ahn’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Shaahn/186878444673629?sk=info so that you can keep abreast of what positive projects she is working on, which may be in your area!
Liel’s Staccato Beat