I know Carlita Victoria through her mother, Cathey, with whom I met when working at the City of Raleigh. She was involved with Community Services and youth programs. Cathey spoke about her daughter dancing, then spoke about her being on Broadway! I loved dancing and lived in New York. That was an exciting time, now Carlita Victoria has taken that by a storm! She has established her presence as part of the internet baby generation. Though I have not met her. I’ve heard her energetic voice over the phone. Her beginnings may have been in Raleigh, but her world is New York City. Her array of talent is obvious from her carlitavictoria.com website and Facebook page. She is a star though she may not have imagined that when fulfilling her dreams in New York and around the Globe performing in far off places like Ghana, West Africa and Seoul Korea. Her field is based on having and bringing talent forward to audiences. One must project a note, a feeling, an expression that is understood by a variety of audiences. That is very demanding including the logistics of practice, preparation, and performance. Carlita Victoria must love what she does. Her video shows her as a teacher and performer. She is the full package to be a Broadway performer, a member of dance troupes, traveling Broadway plays and performances in local venues.

Carlita Victoria is also a comedian, one of my favorite talents after dancing.  I have yet to see this side and pray our local clubs finds a way to include her in their programming selection. Meanwhile this prolific young artist has recently tackled something that overwhelmed her immense artistic expression, a mental health breakdown. When the body and mind is so fully engaged it may be hard to accept something is wrong and find yourself face to face with a desire to end it all. Unthinkable would be the outside and uninformed impression, yet it can happen to our best and brightest. That is when it is stunning and challenging to reimagine this person and their struggle. As in Carlita’s life she was surrounded by family and friends so that decisive moment was not acted upon. Emerging from this reality inspired a passion to create a play that addressed her experience for others to learn from and seek help knowing they are not alone.

Her most recent work is probably her most original. It may also have cast her in a new role as playwright and producer. The play was introduced at the African American Cultural Festival as ‘Darkness Rising Project‘. This is her story and testimony to the world. Given the African American history with the health industry we have tended to shy away and be dependent on our limited community resources. With a shortage of mental health professionals from our race, there are better trained health resources to support us. The Affordable Care Act offers us access to care options and given that it is a biological illness and very treatable. Many of us suffer while it can turn our lives upside down. African Americans contribute to being 40% of our homeless population. The work that Carlita Victoria has developed is a gift to our awareness and subsequent solutions to mental health challenges.

Before this mental break and afterwards, we have Carlita Victoria, an amazing talent, to enjoy and appreciate for years to come. Now is the time to pay attention to her message and wish her the best. She is a star and our protagonist.

Art and article by Lillian L Thompson of Lillianonline.us

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