Excerpt from "Ungrateful Daughter One Black Girl’s Story of Being Adopted into a White Family. . . that aren’t Celebrities from Lisa Marie on Vimeo.

exerpt from "Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girl’s Story of Being Adopted into a White Family. . .
6 mins

Please start viewing at 2:36

Lisa Marie Rollins

Oakland, CA


Artistic Disciplines:

Artist Statement:

Project: “Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girl’s Story of Being Adopted into a White Family. . . that aren’t Celebrities.” written and performed by Lisa Marie Rollins, Directed by W. Kamau Bell.


I joined The Solo Performance Workshop in San Francisco in 2005 to begin the process of writing the comedic and painful stories of my life as a transracial adoptee. For the past three and half years I have been writing the script, performing excerpts, editing and developing the show with my Director, W. Kamau Bell. This past April 2010, the first workshop viewing of “Ungrateful Daughter” premiered at StageWerx Theater in San Francisco, sold out both shows and had to turn people away. The show returned for two weekends of workshop performances in June, that also sold out and included audience surveys and a question and answer session.


Recently, “Ungrateful Daughter” was awarded a grant from La Pena Cultural Center to develop the work further under its James Irvine Foundation New Works Funds for the 2010-2011 year.


Why this piece is important & how it fits into the theme of Intersection: World Culture in the East Bay:

In the past 10 years there has been a rise in the number of white families adopting Black children nationally and internationally. With the recent crisis in Haiti, transracial adoption has been put back into the foreground of the American imagination as the children who are ‘saved’ are being sent all over Western countries to isolated white communities. The Bay Area and particularly the East bay have a growing population of transracial adoptive families living, working and negotiating the complex identities of being a racially diverse family. The dynamics of such relationships get to the deep heart of racial politics in the Bay area and the nation at large. Negotiating these histories, finding space for healing and growth, and celebrating the diversity of a place like the East Bay are all parts of this project.


Description of Show:

Angelina Jolie, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Madonna have adopted black children. How could it not be good? "Ungrateful Daughter", Lisa Marie’s riveting solo show, examines being a black girl adopted into a white family and how all that relates to celebrity crazes, the Haitian and Ethiopian ‘orphans’ and the myth of colorblind love.


In a rush of electrifying story-telling, spoken word poetry and hilarious, unexpected characterizations, Lisa Marie reveals a sometimes disturbing picture of what it's like to attend an almost exclusively white, private school; expresses her fierce love for her conservative, Republican, Christian, organic farmer parents and addresses the well-meaning, white, liberal adoptive parents that strain her patience . . . repeatedly. Infused with a gentle sense of humor and a seething rage, Lisa Marie wonders if she will ever heal from the secrets, stolen histories and unknowns she and other adopted people share.

Press about Ungrateful Daughter

Asian Girl with a Secret

East Bay Express by Rachel Swan



Oakland Local

Lisa Marie Rollins' "Ungrateful Daughter" explores facets of transracial adoption

by Irena Nexica


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