Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A | Rashida Strober

St. Petersburg actor writes, performs solo plays about urban experience

Rashida Strober, 33, of St. Petersburg talks about her play A Dark Skinned Woman’s Revenge, which she will perform tonight at the James Weldon Johnson Branch Library.


Rashida Strober, 33, of St. Petersburg talks about her play A Dark Skinned Woman’s Revenge, which she will perform tonight at the James Weldon Johnson Branch Library.


As a young girl, Rashida Strober had a mother who she felt wasn't always there. She was often in trouble in middle school. In her teens, she was homeless off and on for three years, and dropped out of high school. She lived briefly with a man who she said exploited her.

Acting saved her.

The details of Strober's life are fodder for her solo plays exploring the life of an urban black woman. Her scripts are at turns provocative and humorous.

After several years developing her craft, Strober, 33, has an increasingly busy public calendar. She is performing tonight and April 7 at two St. Petersburg public libraries. On Friday, Strober will be in Tampa in the Gasparilla International Film Festival's "Got Talent" competition. In June, she is scheduled to perform at the DC Black Theatre Festival in Washington, D.C.

A substitute teacher in Pinellas schools and a St. Petersburg College adjunct professor of social science, Strober is also the mother of a 12-year-old son, Rahim.

We talked to her about her art.

How did you develop as an actor?

It really happened when I moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting in 2005. After graduating from the University of South Florida, I moved to L.A. About six or seven months later, I started writing The Ice Cream Lady's Dream, which is based on a lot of my childhood. I feel like if I had never gone to Los Angeles, it would have never been written.

Your work is sometimes angry. It often contains adult language and themes, including the controversial "n-word." How do people react to that? Why do you include those elements?

When I did a performance at the Royal Theater, there was one person who said something about the language, but when I do the performance at the libraries, I do a separate version. I don't curse or anything at the library.

It serves a purpose because people feel that it's organic. It's real and it's relatable. Because of the experiences that I've had in my life and my not being a writer, I've learned that it has to be real and organic to connect with people … My work is autobiographical. I have to feel it.

Is it hard being an actor and playwright in Tampa Bay?

Yes, it is. The market is not really here. It is very hard to get to the market. As a new artist, you have to go out and find it. I do a lot of self-promotion. You have to put out your work, and work very, very hard.

Some people in St. Petersburg have a lot of talent, but they can't succeed. For some reason, they can't get out. It's either the circumstances or the person. They can't find a way to make that talent happen, so they hover to other things, to the streets, to violence, whatever.

One of the reasons that I got out of St. Petersburg was because I knew I had to. And I knew that because others helped me.

Like who?

Mattie Everette was my seventh-grade teacher at Tyrone Middle School. She passed away. We had just a terrible upbringing. A lot of that is in the plays. This lady saw all this happening to me. I was getting into fights at school. I would get suspended, and my mom didn't really care. But I had a talent to act. Mrs. Everette got me into an oratorical speech contest. For, like, three straight years I was the champion. She would always just encourage me and help me. My mom never showed up, but this woman was always there. When I ended up homeless, she was one of the people who I thought about.

Another person is Linda Clark. I call her Mrs. McCall in The Ice Cream Lady's Dream. She was my chorus teacher at Tyrone Middle School.

What should visitors to your performances expect?

If they don't like honesty, don't come. Because it's very honest and it's very real. It's all about resonating with the audience. One thing I've learned is that if it doesn't resonate with the audience, you're done.

Luis Perez can be reached at (727)892-2271 or


'A Dark Skinned Woman's Revenge'

6:30 p.m. today at the James Weldon Johnson Branch Library, 1059 18th Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Free.

'The Ice Cream Lady's Dream'

6:30 p.m. April 7 at the South Branch Library, 2300 Roy Hanna Drive S, St. Petersburg. Free.

St. Petersburg actor writes, performs solo plays about urban experience 03/22/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2011 6:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. James Wilder Jr. back at running Canada


    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  2. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas construction licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. What you need to know for Tuesday, June 27


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Former St. Petersburg mayor and current mayoral candidate Rick Baker, left, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman square off tonight in a debate. [Times]
  4. Once 'angry' about Obamacare, Republican David Jolly came to see it as 'safety net'


    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

  5. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store


    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.