Who is Nicko?
Minister. Actor. Poet. Motivator. All of these roles describe Dominique “Nicko” Williams, a sophomore Professional Theater student from Youngsville, NC. He now has three more roles to add: playwright, director and producer.
In front of an audience of about 50 students, professors and faculty in Webb Hall, Friday, March 18 Williams debuted his original show: Promised to the Movement, a two-person play highlighting the important role students played in the Civil Rights Movement.
Inspired by the the history of A&T and movies like Selma and The Butler, Williams knew he wanted to write an entertaining, engaging, and informative play on the civil rights. He started writing the play over Winter Break by doing research, which he said was the hardest part.
“When I first looked up the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), I wanted to use Ella Baker as a main character,” said Williams. “She was an adult, but she had a heart for young people.”
Williams incorporated Baker as an inspirational person in the Civil Rights Movement. The play followed fictional character Lincoln Eddie James “LJ,” a young college student committed to the movement through writing. LJ documents important moments in history as he grapples with whether he is doing enough to help the cause.
“It’s about doing what we can,” said Williams. “We’ve all been given something special for a specific reason, and that’s to help others around us.”
Meet the Co-Star
Williams asked junior Professional Theatre student Danielle Tucker to co-star with him as Bobbie. The two played multiple characters, including Ella Baker, Martin Luther King Jr., and other student leaders. Using recorded sounds, props and a partition, the two advanced the story as senior Professional Theatre Student and Stage Manager April Davis helped behind the scenes.
Inspired by Lorraine Hansberry, the first Black woman to write a play on Broadway (A Raisin in the Sun), Tucker has performed in six mainstage plays at A&T and other productions.. After a month of rehearsing, she said she was excited to star alongside Williams.
“I’m really proud of Nicko for taking the initiative to write a show,” Tucker said. “He is an extremely talented writer.”
Audiences churches, colleges and high schools said they loved and have been entertained by Promised to the Movement, which Williams admits was one of his initial concerns before the show.
“The production was an innovative and well-executed depiction of important events in American history,” said sophomore Chemistry student Mariah Franklin. “Williams creatively captured emotions of activists throughout the production.”
Williams plans to write more shows centered around a theme he calls “motivational theater.” He also is co-writing a musical and preparing a show on college readiness. Williams said he wants to be remembered at A&T as a student who follows God, is about his business, and knows how to have a good time.
“People often say, ‘I see you Nicko, you are going to be the next Denzel Washington or Tyler Perry,’” Williams said. “I don’t want to be anything other than the first Dominique Williams.”
Contact Dominique Williams:
IG: @dwspeaks Twitter: @dwspeaks
Civil Rights, Plays, SNCC, NCAT, Ella Baker