'Hamilton' Star Renée Elise Goldsberry To Keynote Wake Forest University Event
Tony Award-winning artist Renée Elise Goldsberry, perhaps best known for her role as Angelica Schuyler in the Broadway smash, Hamilton, will appear in Winston-Salem Friday.
She's coming to kick-off a conference at Wake Forest University called “The Arts Of Leading.”
The weekend-long event is an effort to highlight the importance of the liberal arts in leading others, instead of the fields that typically showcase leadership, like politics or the military.
WFDD’s Sean Bueter got a chance to speak with Goldsberry ahead of her appearance.
On how entertainers and artists can lead the way:
I believe that artists are hugely influential in forming conversations and reflecting attitudes and shaping them, and awareness of that is so important so that artists are more responsible with what they do. And I think the consumers of art should be aware and responsible with the power that, you know, what we listen to, what we watch has over the way we think and the way we act. So I think we can never minimize even what "entertainment" means.
On her responsibility as a role model for young women:
I do feel responsible when it comes to what I do and the influence it has on women that come after me. And it's exciting to me that this young woman [15-year-old Ella Klein, who submitted this question] would be interested in anything I would have to say. I look at it as an opportunity, and I don't know how long it will last. But while somebody is tuned in to me, I'm excited about the possibility of just seeing them and celebrating them and lifting them up.
I am inspired by women that love themselves and that see beauty in all kinds of women. And I think great things happen to people so that you can share those things with other people. These things that have happened to me in my life could have happened to anybody. So if they happen to me, I feel really responsible about sharing them with as many people as possible.
On what being an artist does – and doesn't – mean when it comes to influencing others:
I don't know that there's something unique to being an artist. I think there is an opportunity to be a role model no matter what you're doing. Even if you're not in a Broadway show that people love, there's an opportunity to lift people up in whatever circle you're in. I guess that might be the biggest thing I would want to share with people is to recognize how important we all are.
Really the most influential people are people that recognize, wherever they are and whatever they are doing, there is an opportunity to lift someone else up and to listen to someone else and to try to be an example for somebody else and to do whatever they're doing with excellence.
These things are really important, whether you're doing it at the senior center, or whether you're doing it in the office, or whether you're doing it on a stage. I don't think that my life, my struggles and my triumphs are more valuable. And so I hope that other people are aware of that and if they are, I think we have a real opportunity to really change and impact other people's lives in a positive way.
Renée Elise Goldsberry's keynote and performance will take place Feb. 1 at 6:00 p.m. at Wait Chapel on the WFU campus. Doors open at 5:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
(Ed.: This transcription has been lightly edited for clarity.)