Natalie Cook is a filmmaker, playwright, and poet. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she obtained degrees in both English (Creative Writing) and Afro-American Studies. Natalie is also an alumna of the First Wave Hip Hop Theatre Ensemble. She began showcasing her gift for poetry at a very young age. Because poetry had such a positive impact on her life, she founded Atlanta Word Works, a 501c3, when she was sixteen in hopes that young people would, just as she had, find ways to express themselves through creative writing and spoken word poetry. Natalie is a graduate student at Gallatin where she has created her own MA program, Revitalizing Black Education through the Arts.
“Manikin” addresses the causes for some of the current tensions that exist between Black men and Black women living in modern-day America. The blame for issues that exist within the Black community is often cast on the people of that group. “Manikin” aims to transform the longstanding deleterious narrative that is commonly propagated to uphold white supremacist values. The play’s objective is to transform the stage into a mirror for the audience. “Manikin” convicts the people who take part in the experience of its production, compelling audience members to digest the hard truths of American history and its ties to current events. The white normative gaze is the primary outlook in which all Americans are expected to look through. “MANIKIN” provides the stage for Black people to take agency over their narrative as well as their art.