Hallandale Beach, Florida native, Drama Teacher, and Creative Writer Khalia S. Parker Preyer, also known as “K (P) 2”, is the founder and Executive Director of KP2 Theatre Foundation, Incorporated and KP2 Writes, LLC.
Khalia is the proud wife of Rev. DeMarcus A. Preyer and mother of twin boys Jayce and Chance. She is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
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.
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 assures 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. She desires this book to be used as a tool and resource for her sons as they grow to know and love an incarcerated grandparent. 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 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.
We salute and celebrate you for writing four plays to mirror life’s obstacles and provide a mirror into problem-solving and communication ideals in the African American family. What has the playwriting journey been like for you so far?
Khalia: It’s been amazing. My first award came from the NAACP- ACT-SO; to me, that was all the inspiration I needed to confirm my role in providing culturally relevant educational theatre to my church, school, and community. I believe I am created to impact people through the arts.
How about your book writing journey? How has being an author made an impact on you personally? What messages do you convey through your books?
Khalia: I have written books about important issues like parental incarceration, identity and embracing differences, and not giving up on goals and dreams. These books have provided me with an opportunity to meet personal goals, speak on stages, and gain insight into issues plaguing my community while obtaining awards.
My latest book is about how to turn your story into a stage play. The title is You Don’t Have the Right to Remain Silent. I need my readers to embrace this notion to raise awareness and break barriers. Watching the news makes us aware of the battles we, as people, fight daily. Please speak up about injustice, lack of resources, trials, and triumphs. Challenge yourself to consider putting your story on the stage in front of a live audience. Reach many people simultaneously using the power of theatre.
When did you know you were walking in your divine purpose as a storyteller?
Khalia: I realized that I was walking in my purpose during the first curtain call and a standing ovation of my play For the Love of Mother at 16. I knew the audience wasn’t clapping for me. The audience was clapping at the God in me. I was challenged to write a “better” play than I’d seen each holiday at church. I wrote that play to be produced on Mother’s Day. I used theatre to provide insight into a black family with communication obstacles and a need for forgiveness using the scripture: `Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. ‘ (Prov. 22:6.)
Are there more stories you aspire to share, and if so, what kind?
Khalia: Absolutely. I am a modern griot who enjoys writing plays that mirror life’s obstacles and highlights various perspectives. I share stories that transform, inspire, and educate on topics near and dear to my heart. My ancestors taught me this, and I am teaching my playwriting clients to thrive by doing the same.
My next goal is to share more stories of the stigmatic and not boldly talked about themes like inequality in education, lack of funding in the arts, infertility, and of course, a topic most close to my heart, parental incarceration.
What is a quote that you live by?
Khalia: I have so many quotes that I live by, some by Maya Angelou, Ruby Dee, and August Wilson. I’m living by this quote by Nelson Mandela in this phase of my life: “As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
What advice would you give to women of color who aspire to become storytellers?
Khalia: Don’t be selfish to the young, ambitious girl in you with the big dreams, and get started with writing your stage play today. Theatre is the most profound method of storytelling. Start by writing in a journal. Notate the themes that keep you up at night. Use the people you meet daily to inspire your characters. Your audience needs to see your work on the stage. It may be the answer to something they are struggling with and need your help to remove or decrease the infliction.
How can we keep up to date with you on social media?
Khalia: Facebook and Instagram: @KP2Writes
Photo Credit: Livi Blue Photography
Interview Done By: Tammy Reese | @tammyreesemedia