I was a mimic when I was a child. I mimicked the teacher and made friends that way actually. That was a very subversive activity because I was a goody-goody who never got in trouble. But if I went off in the corner and mimicked the teacher people loved it.

Anna Deavere Smith Teacher Quote

My main concern is theater and theater does not reflect or mirror society. It has been stingy and selfish and it has to do better.

When I got out of acting school I was lucky to have gotten any job at all. A lot of people hiring African American actresses – it was right after ‘Roots’ and for society not me it was great. Nice richly dark-skinned people was the fashion and I was not.

Anna Deavere Smith Society Quotes

To live your life well and have respect for what came before or after – there’s a strong respect for that in African culture.

Anna Deavere Smith Respect Quote

Movies as evidenced by a chorus of protesting and celebrating Americans influence broader trends.

Anna Deavere Smith Movies Quote

I think we need leadership that helps us remember that part of what we are about is caring about more than the person right next to us but the folks across the way.

Anna Deavere Smith Leadership Quote

President Obama called for a ‘we’ nation in his Inauguration Address. Art convenes. It is not just inspirational. It is aspirational. It pricks the walls of our compartmentalized minds opens our hearts and makes us brave. And that’s what we need most in our country today.

Anna Deavere Smith Inspirational Quote

I made a real specific decision when I came out of school and most artists were writing about home – if you were a woman you were writing about being a woman – and I decided not to do that write about what you know. That’s not what I do. I went as far away from home as possible in terms of the development of my imagination.

I think it’s really important to give yourself a very big question that you’re working on that you can come home to even if you you know are going to have to go without a cup of coffee or even a meal that that should nourish you.

Anna Deavere Smith Home Quotes

Friendship is a wildly underrated medication.

Anna Deavere Smith Friendship Quote

I feel like my work has been my path to freedom from having grown up in a segregated environment.

The American idea is as promising imaginative and full of the unexpected as the land itself. The land represents freedom – the frontier the ability to make a new future with your own bare hands.

Anna Deavere Smith Freedom Quotes

Somehow we can’t live outside the politics of race. There’s something very deep in all of us that is taught to us when we are very very little. Which is the disrespect and fear of the other.

Anna Deavere Smith Fear Quote