Black Girl in Bathtub

65 3Arts supporters
$6,010 raised of $5,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on May 10, 2018
    • 120% contributed

I plan to develop a screenplay and produce a short fictional film based on my 10-minute play “Black Girl in Bathtub,” which will stand as a creative call-to-action against the sexual exploitation of girls. It has always pained me that our adolescent black and brown girls are not just allowed to be children, and that our community and society at large have deemed them as less innocent somehow. As a society, we are prone to collectively write off teen and pre-teen girls during the most vulnerable stage in their lives. In 2015, I wrote the 10-minute play “Black Girl in Bathtub,” which takes this issue as its centerpiece. Through the eyes of Nia, the play brings to life the story of how young brown girls are treated like grown women, overly sexualized by the media and not protected by their own community. They are left struggling to define their identity and determine their self-worth in a world that objectifies and exploits them. It is an environment that at best can crush a young girl’s self-esteem if her young body doesn’t match the image projected on it, or at worst, put her at risk for abuse, assault, sex trafficking, or death. This story is still relevant and needed, even more so now with the rise of the #METOO movement. I’m grateful for the success of the play but feel that the work needs a wider and more sustained audience that film has the capacity to provide. With your help, I’ll be able to expand this work and use it to help us all take collective responsibility in creating safer spaces for girls of color.

About This Project

This project is very close to me, mostly because I can identify with the young girls that I’m writing about. I was that girl—underage and trying to find myself, whether it was through makeup, grown up clothing, or attitude. I was lucky because my mother was vigilant and protective. With her help, I was able to avoid predatory advances of men up to four times my age. Unfortunately, what can happen without that help is far more common. There are countless young, innocent, pre-teen girls of color in our neighborhoods who are pursued and manipulated.  

Black girl in bathtub
See Nia.
See Tasha
Tub almost full
Too late for tears
Smoked eye on Tasha
Red lip on Nia
No place for barbie dolls
No place to run
Who will save us?

As a playwright, I bring stories to life through the theater. In 2015, I wrote “Black Girl in Bathtub” and it received successful stage readings in the MUSE festival in 2017 and the Black Lives Black Words Festival in 2016. It was also selected for the anthology, “Black Lives, Black Words” published by Oberon books. I wrote the play before the #METOO movement, which has now motivated me to revive and restage it in a different form. After contacting the talented filmmaker Deidre Searcy, she has enthusiastically signed on as director and will help me develop the play into a film.

I have been fortunate to be surrounded by others who are as passionate about this project as I am. In addition to securing a director and crew, I have also received $1,500 for equipment rental, which will go a long way to minimizing our production costs. But a project like this is costly and your donations will be greatly needed and appreciated.

Contributions will go directly to the initial costs of producing a 10-minute film shot in one location over a weekend. Once the film is completed, I will have screenings and post-film discussions to raise awareness and funds for organizations that support teen girls. I plan to submit the film to festivals in Chicago and across the country.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Thank you on social media ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above plus a personalized thank you letter from the production team ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    All of the above, plus a "Black Girl in Bathtub" (BGB) tote bag ($75.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    All of the above, plus an invitation to the wrap party on the final day of filming ($225.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    All of above, plus a VIP invitation to a private screening with the production team, and your name listed as a major supporter in the film credits ($475.00 is tax deductible.)

Marsha Estell

Marsha Estell is a resident playwright alumna at Chicago Dramatists, 2010 3Arts/Ragdale Fellow, and recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Playwriting. Her plays include Heat, which had its world premiere at Chicago Dramatists and was nominated for a …

View Marsha Estell's profile
  • Update 1: YAY thanks to my donors, we qualified for the 3ARTs 1/3 match
    Posted on April 09, 2018


    Update 2: 16 days in 83% raised! We are so close,
    Posted on April 11, 2018


    I am humbled and grateful to all of the supporters.  I couldn't imagine that we would raise this much so fast.  Thank you.  Please continue to spread the word, and I will keep you posted on the progress of this important film!

    Update 3: 90% raised!
    Posted on April 19, 2018


    We are so close!  Please continue to share the website on social media!  Thank you to all that believe in the making of this important film.

    Update 4: We did it!
    Posted on April 26, 2018


    We did it!  $5,150 raised, and I am beyond esctatic!

    Thank you to all of my supporters!  Because of your generous contributions, we are guaranteed to receive all the pledged funding up until the deadline.

    With time left on the campaign clock, I am aiming for a stretch goal of $6000.  Please continue to spread the word. 

    I will keep you updated.

    Update 5: GOAL!
    Posted on May 11, 2018


    I am happy to say that the campaign has ended, and the Stretch goal has been met - $6010.00 raised.  I will continue to update everyone, as we work to make the short film "Black Girl in Bathtub" a reality!  A heart felt thank you to 3ARTs, and all of the donors! 

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Eleanor Wicks

    • Felisha McNeal

    • Jon Satrom

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Dana Formby

    • Mary Bonnett

    • Judith Blue

    • Tiffany Trent

    • Janelle Stanley

    • glen estell

    • Gloria Bond Clunie

    • Petra Belcher

    • Penelope Walker

    • Mignon Stewart

    • kathie house

    • Carole McCurdy

    • Willie Stanley

    • Lina Vitkauskas

    • Yvonne Lee

    • Nambi Kelley

    • Sylvester Lorme

    • Tyla Abercrumbie

    • Lydia Diamond

    • Ron Parson

    • Tiffany Belcher

    • Michelle Wilson

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Anonymous Supporter


    • audrey Allen

    • Jennifer Wicks

    • Samara Anderson

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Demetria Thomas

    • Elisabeth Blair

    • H.E. Estell Jr.

    • Brittany Estell

    • Bai Price

    • Eleanor Wicks

    • Felisha McNeal

    • Richard Thomas

    • Katie Gottwaldt

    • Mark Beasley

    • Christopher Wright

    • Michael Smith

    • Timothy Crawford

    • Lori Bell Willis

    • Mia McCullough

    • Stephen Spencer

    • mark richard

    • Lajeune Belcher

    • Cynthia Sonley

    • Cassanra Hyde

    • Patricia Long

    • Yvette Clayton

    • Donna K. Wright

    • Linda Bright Clay

    • Geraldine Ray

    • Candace Hunter

    • Alana Arenas

    • Sarah Hawkins

    • James Edwards

    • Mary & Cedric Young

    • Lydia Diamond

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

  Joyce Logo

 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council