Danai Gurira, the award-winning actor and playwright, was honored by Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company at its 10th anniversary Women in the Arts fundraising luncheon on Dec. 10 at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel.
During the event,The Walking Dead star, who graced a cover of EBONY magazine earlier this year, spoke with Steppenwolf Artistic Director Anna D. Shapiro and Education Manager Jared Bellot about her activism, philanthropy and award-winning plays including Familiar, which is currently on stage at the theater.
“I’ve always thought of our June 2018 cover star Danai Gurira as the face of the megasuccessful film Black Panther, but what I failed to realize is that she is incredibly well-rounded,” said Brett Jeffries, EBONY director of brand marketing, who attended the luncheon.
Jeffries added, “Not only is she an award-winning actor, but she also focuses on gender equality and women’s rights through her work with the United Nations as a Goodwill Ambassador. And if that weren’t enough, she’s a very talented playwright, which is evident in her brilliant work as the author of Familiar. Danai is Black girl magic. Kudos to Steppenwolf Theatre for selecting her as this year’s Women in Arts honoree.”
The luncheon brought together 300 leaders from Chicago’s business and civic communities to honor Gurira for her impact on the theater industry. Notable guests included Steppenwolf ensemble members, Scandal star Jeff Perry and Familiar actor Celeste M. Cooper among them.
The event raised $200,000 for the theater’s educational and professional development programs, which include the lauded Steppenwolf for Young Adults and the School at Steppenwolf, as well as the Professional Leadership Programs that provide apprenticeships, fellowships and internships for future arts managers and producers.
Tickets for Familiar, which start at $20, can be purchased from Steppenwolf.org. The play runs through Jan. 13. 2019.
Check out images from the fundraising event below.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.