About Antu


Antu snapshots taken by Melvin Billingsley


Photo credit: Melvin Billingsley

Once upon a time many, not too many, years ago, Antu found herself in the Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport. Her feet cemented in the ground underneath her 5 year old body, she stared into her mother’s eyes wielding invisible laser beams with the intent to change her parents minds. Antu’s parents told her that she needed to board the plane immediately. They told her the family was  going to America. Antu screamed NO! She didn’t want to go to America, it was too far away! What about her grandmother? What about the 3 Somali neighbor girls  that taught her how to speak Somali so she could finally hang with them? Antu’s parents didn’t answer her questions. Instead they begged, pleaded and said that they’d give her candy, clothes and toys, but she just wouldn’t budge.  When they promised that they would get her a BICYCLE from America and then all come right back, Antu’s eyes did a minor shift.  Antu made sure they promised her three times, because from Islamic school at that age, she learned the number three had some significance, she wasn’t sure exactly what…but she made them promise it anyway. They did. They got her on the plane and it landed in San Francisco, California. And wouldn’t you know it…she didn’t get her bike until 6 years later when she’d turned 11…Do you think her parents were trying to teach her the value of patience? Or procrastination?


 

In high school she joined the Drama Club, writing and acting in her first collaborative piece about the states of racism and air pollution in California. She also played the alto saxophone and sang in Jazz Choir.  Eventually she went to grad school and got her MFA in Acting. She has traveled in real time quite a bit.  Her resume reveals as an actor her imagination has taken her even farther. Antu has gone from playing a Gambian immigrant on Law & Order: SVU to an agoraphobic mother mourning her police murdered son in the film Walking in Circles, then onto an Ethiopian-Israeli nightclub singer in A Jew on Ethiopia Street, stopping along the way as the provocative lady in red  in for colored girls who’ve considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf  to rocking consciousness about an international epidemic on the Primary Stages original national tour of In the Continuum.  She whole heartedly believes that the art of great storytelling has the power to change the way people view each other and the world. As an actor and writer, she is committed to giving voice to the moving, funny, terrifying, liberating unique stories that allow audiences to walk a mile in each other’s shoes. She  is also still very much in touch with her 5 year old self and really loves to PLAY!