Darryl Lacy, ’85, has been nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the “Outstanding Literary Work by a Debut Author” category for his book, Nikki G: A Portrait of Nikki Giovanni in Her Own Words.
The NAACP Image Awards celebrates the accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature, and film and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors. Winners of the 44th annual awards will be announced during a two-hour event, which will air live on Friday, February 1, on NBC.
“It gives me great joy that I have been nominated for an NAACP Image Award,” said Lacy, who adapted his 1990 play about the poet Nikki Giovanni into a book published in 2012.
Lacy operates Darryl Lacy Productions, a theater production company in New York City that is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
After graduation, the Buffalo native moved to the Big Apple, determined to make it as an actor in one of the world’s most competitive theater markets. He earned various parts on stage, but they weren’t always the roles he wanted. Without steady income, he faced the reality of having to support himself. That’s when he decided to pursue multiple careers.
By day, Lacy has found fulfillment—and a paycheck—working as a social worker and teacher. At all other hours, he pours his heart and soul into his production company, which he established with the help of fellow Buffalo State grad Rachel Ferguson, ’84.
“I found that it was very valuable to have my bachelor’s degree in theater from Buffalo State,” Lacy said. “Learning versatility at college—the ability to act, direct, and work backstage—really made it possible to start a production company. Learning from the great Warren Enters was a huge help, too.”
Over the years, Lacy has directed and produced seven critically acclaimed plays, all focused on the African American experience, at various venues around New York City. In 1990, Lacy debuted the play Nikki G: A Portrait of Nikki Giovanni in Her Own Words, which he scripted as a nod to the famed poet and the Black Arts Movement that grew out of the Civil Rights Movement. The company staged an off-Broadway revival of that production in 2010, and in response to overwhelming demand, Lacy wrote and published a book version of Nikki G in 2012.
Lacy’s company received its first-ever grant in 2011—from the Harlem Community Arts Fund, with funding from the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation—to produce a revival of Home, a comedy by Samm-Art Williams. In addition, Lacy was recently selected by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation to participate in a program that matches promising off-Broadway directors with established Broadway directors.
“I’m 50 years old now, and sometimes I ask myself when I’m going to stop having these dreams,” Lacy said with a laugh. “But the company is doing really well, and so I keep pursuing new ideas. Our next big project will be a showcase of music. I’m also looking into permanent theater space for our productions. It’s good to have dreams, and it’s really fun to make them a reality.”
Lacy’s book Nikki G: A Portrait of Nikki Giovanni in Her Own Words is available at www.darryllacyproductions.com.