Visionary Creator Spotlight: Khalia S. Parker Preyer, Executive Director of KP2 Writes, LLC
Khalia S. Parker Preyer, also known as “K (P) 2”, is a Drama Teacher and Creative Writer. Khalia is the founder and Executive Director of KP2 Foundation, Incorporated, and KP2 Writes, LLC. Where her passion for theatre and love for education collide. Khalia tirelessly advocates for and believes in the power of the arts to mesmerize, challenge, and improve the world. Khalia’s mission is to create an educational theatre experience using culturally relevant materials that fosters the love of the arts, inspire creativity, and encourage youth and young adults to be model citizens and ambitious artist. KP2 has impacted the lives of 5,000+ youth and young adults through acting, poetry, storytelling, playwriting, technical theatre, and community services. Khalia is committed to creating and freely collaborating and generously giving time, energy, vision, love, and support to fellow artists.
She writes to glorify the beauty of the English language. Khalia has written and published three books. Her book Identically Different: It’s an Oxymoron fulfills her commitment to providing children with characters that positively represent them, an issue she believes staggers fluency and interest in reading. In her book, Love Beyond the Bars, Khalia uses the traumatic impact of growing up with an incarcerated parent to mentor and support children of incarcerated parents. Love Beyond the Bars gives assurance to both parents and children that there is life beyond the uncomfortable experience of parental incarceration. It also teaches children about the timeless and unconditional love of a parent. In her third book, You Don’t Have the Right to Remain Silent: How to Turn Your Story into a Play she provides the steps to gain the confidence to write, publish, and produce a play.
Khalia has also written four plays to mirror life’s obstacles and provide a mirror into problem-solving and communication ideals in the African American family. She believes in using the arts as a change mechanism.
We Empower Magazine obtained an exclusive interview with Khalia.
What sparked your passion for theater, and what keeps you motivated to continue being the creative that you are?
Khalia: I was placed in my first theatre class in 2002. As a sophomore in high school, I found that theatre was exactly what I needed. It was a space to share my creativity, enter contests, travel, and obtain awards. Due to my gift of dramatic writing, I was later able to write plays that serve as a social change agent in my community.
What impact do you want to make in the world as the Executive Director of KP2 Foundation, Incorporated, and KP2 Writes, LLC?
Khalia: I have a personal goal of giving access to the power of theatre. As founder and executive director of KP2 Theatre Foundation, Inc, my ultimate goal is to support its mission of providing a culturally relevant educational theatre experience for children and youth. Through the non-profit we are able to host workshops on acting, production, and technical theatre. We provide scholarships to combat senior obligation fees etc. I believe that high school students shouldn’t have to incur financial hardship to participate in theatre events, workshops, and or conferences.
After introducing and leading 5,000+ theatre artists through the journey of play production, I decided to share my mechanism, writing boldly. Through KP2 Writes, I teach authors how to turn their story into a stage play. Writing plays that are free of bias and stereotypes makes the world a better place.
We understand that you glorify the beauty of the English language. We do as well! We would love to hear about your book, Identically Different: It’s an Oxymoron. What can readers take away from it?
Khalia: Identically Different: It’s an Oxymoron is my second book. Writing and publishing children’s books is my hobby. It’s what I do when plays and or theatre become a little overwhelming. As a public school Dramatic Writing instructor, I am fascinated with teaching challenging topics and figures of speech to little minds. I am also a twin mommy to 5- year olds and believe in using exploration as an opportunity to gain insight. My boys are often stopped and asked questions about “twin life.” I’ve been asked if I’m sure they are twins because they don’t look alike, dress alike, or think alike”. This book is my answer. It also teaches that, like words that are oxymorons, twins can be side by side and have different meanings (or purposes).
What do you hope for or would like to see from/and for women of color in the theater space?
Khalia: I want them to embrace our history and be authentic. Be like Lorraine or better than Lorraine. Lorraine Hansberry was a well-known and admired playwright who advocated for social change in the community. She died at age 35 years old but made such a huge impact. We need more work that is free of bias and stereotypes. There is an immediate concern about providing black theatre that can be read and performed in schools. We need to see OUR work. In the words of WEB Dubois, Black Theatre should be for us, by us, and near us. There is nothing closer to a black family than a black woman.
What are you currently working on, and what can we be on the lookout for from you?
Khalia: By continuously studying theatre arts, I am developing a system that will allow educational theatre to remain prominent and respected. Through my company KP2 Writes, I coach playwrights and support their productions while producing my original plays. If there is an issue plaguing me, I write about it. I am excited to announce that I am currently partnering with a local non-profit for which I wrote a script to raise awareness of the lack of feminine hygiene products and protection from sexual abuse. Look out for tickets.
Keep up to date on social media:
Facebook and Instagram: @KP2Writes
Photo Credit: Livi Blue Photography