Unequivocally, history is a testament to the struggles the people of color have experienced and also continue to go through. Even with the evergrowing conscious efforts of reducing marginalization in society, people of color still face scrutiny and impoverished opportunities. The entertainment and Performing Arts industries are no different, particularly the intimacy field that caters to predominately white institutions. To promote equal inclusion, intimacy coordinator Ann James founded Intimacy Coordination of Color, which centers around artists of color and queer artists.
Being an army brat, James traversed all over the country, meeting a diverse range of people. Amidst the continuous traveling, the one thing that remained constant in her life was the Performing Arts. No matter the city, the plays, operas, puppet shows, and orchestras were always there to accompany James.
That initial exposure sparked a neverending fondness for arts in James, ultimately becoming the center of her world. As of today, she is a director and theater scholar, having been to 41 countries, directed over 100 shows, produced over 50 productions, and taught thousands of art students. Recently, she has stepped into the intimacy realm in order to revamp the structure of theatrical intimacy and assist people who look like her – people of color along with other minorities.
Intimacy direction is ever needed in Hollywood and on Broadway, especially after the #metoo movement. James states it is crucial because it causes a ripple effect on other elements, such as an actor’s consent and bodily autonomy. Intimacy coordinators help reduce the possibility of shame, trauma, and sexual violation in an intimate scene for an actor, mainly a female actor. However, James believes that intimacy coordination and choreography cannot exist in a vacuum and only be centered around a specific group of people.
In spite of the fact that there has been a growing number of black intimacy coordinators, there is still not enough inclusion, and a white majority overwhelmingly leads the industry. This was the very reason James became an intimacy director. Being a black woman, she would better recognize and understand the deep-rooted racial stereotypes related to hyper-sexualization. Ann is culturally equipped to attend to the specific needs of artists of color and even queer artists.
James’ goal is to help actors and performers find a sense of empowerment and freedom and tell stories from a comfortable spot. She wishes to create a reality where every individual feels safe, regardless of color, gender, and sexual orientation-bringing more inclusivity to the intimacy industry.
If you wish to learn more about Ann James and Intimacy Coordinator of Colors, click here.