Law & Order: Organized Crime star Danielle Moné Truitt is taking a break from being part of an ensemble cast to present her one-woman play 3: Black Girl Blues in Los Angeles. Conceived by the actress and co-written with Anthony D’Juan, the play centers around three close friends from childhood: Keisha, Jill, and Stephanie, who must confront their adult-life demons. "The stories in this play are inspired by the women that myself and Anthony have known, loved, learned from, couldn't stand, and had long-term friendships with," Truitt tells EBONY. "They are our mothers, our aunties, and our sisters."
Along with creating and starring in 3: Black Girl Blues, her company Truitt Love Productions, along with CMA Entertainment, are behind the presentation. "When we create our own works, we give voice to unique perspectives and stories, and as Black artists, I think that's really important."
Truitt tells us more about getting into each character and how she's balancing single motherhood with a job that takes her across the country.
Danielle Moné Truitt in 3: Black Girl Blues. Image: courtesy of B Street Theatre.
How do you relate to each woman you are playing in 3: Black Girl Blues?
I didn't always think I related to these characters. I was too refined to be Keisha, much stronger than Jill, and not successful enough as Stephanie. As I continued to mature and develop these characters, I realized I was everything that they were. I actually feared these women because embracing all of them meant I had to embrace all of me and that was scary for me. I'm a mess. I'm trying to figure life out and to be my best with the cards I was dealt—and so are they. I'm also hilarious, driven, and fly. And I'm a mom, a career woman, and a little hood at heart. I was inspired by my quest for self-actualization, my need to find self-worth, and although I didn't know it at the time, a deep desire for self-love and to face the ugly parts of myself.
What do you do to get into character for each role?
Getting into character for me is about loosening up my body and breathing so that the work I put in during rehearsal can easily flow through me. I have some pretty funny warm-ups that I do before I come out on stage. I know these characters as I know myself: they just need a clear mind and body and an open heart to live! I'm very clear on what they want and I play those intentions throughout the performance. When I switch from one character to the next, I use the time that I'm changing into their costumes to change my body language and my mindset to where that character is. It's a pretty quick process.
What's the message behind the play for Black women and our life experiences?
I think the message is that we aren't a monolith. That it's ok for us to fall apart and not be perfect. We don't always need to be strong. But we do have a responsibility to heal ourselves and to make mental health a priority. Also, we as Black women need each other! Sisterhood is essential. Honoring each other and our friendships should be a priority.
You are also a producer! Why is it important to be in control of our own creative work?
There is a quote that I saw years ago that says, "If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door." I have never waited around for others to cast me or give me opportunities. That mindset helped me stay encouraged on my journey. It also empowered me to create things that spoke to my experience in the world.
You're balancing motherhood with a long-distance job. How do you make it work?
I have no choice but to make it work. My boys are my first priority. I want to give them a good life but I also want to be a part of it. Being a bicoastal working mother is very challenging and I've struggled quite a bit with mom guilt. I am blessed to have a super supportive tribe of friends and family who remind me constantly that I am loved by my boys. They remind me to take care of myself and that things will not always be this way. My ex-husband and I have done a pretty decent job co-parenting so that is also helpful. Lastly, God and His hand in my life makes all of this possible. I definitely wouldn't be able to navigate all of this without His grace.
What's something you and your two sons love to do together?
We love to have movie nights at home! Popcorn, ice cream, and a funny movie are all we need. My oldest usually falls asleep halfway through the movie no matter what, and my youngest is always annoyed that I get to have an adult drink and he can't!
You're part of the legacy franchise Law & Order. What do you love about your character, Sergeant Ayanna Bell?
It's pretty cool! I'm happy to portray the first Black female LGBTQ character in this franchise. There haven't been that many Black leads in Law & Order history. I love that Ayanna knows who she is and knows her value. I love how she protects her team and has courage in the face of adversity. I also love that she is unapologetically Black and rocks natural hairstyles. She's no joke. I love her.
3: Black Girl Blues is playing for three consecutive weekends at the Hudson Theatre in Los Angeles starting May 19.