Jovelyn's World of Storytelling

My name is Jovelyn Diana, I am a storyteller, on stage, the world of literary, radio and film.  I grew up near a library  it was one of the only places my mother gave  me permission to travel alone lucky me!  My mother is an avid reader. Mother, sent me at least once a week to get her books.  Both my grandmother  and mother firmly believed” holding books are equally as important as holding hands.”  The librarian knew my face well. What she did not know is that I took out books from the adult section pretending they were all for mother but really at least one or two books were for me. I read the adult themed books secretly in my bed room closet. There were no princess’s on the pages waiting to be rescued or knights in armor, princes or wolves instead  there was a truth I connected too.  I was eight years old reading, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, and Willard Motley. I flung myself into the love of literature with passion and my imagination was on fire. My heart broke with the narratives of “others lives”! After those literary encounters the reading material in  my classroom became one long boring session until… 8th grade. I was 13 years old and our teacher read out loud Emily Jane Brontes  novel, Wuthering Heights. I wept openly yet silently in class tears streaming down my face. Silence, something I had to activate to avoid the commentary from my classmates.

The other place I was able to go alone was to my grandparents.  My grandparents  owned a grocery store in Milwaukee, Wisconsin named Patterson’s Grocery Store. One of the few black owned businesses in the area. My grandparents  lived behind it in an attached apartment.  The community of folks that came and went under the tinkle of the bell attached to the  grocery store door were as vibrant, poetic lovely ,and desperate as the characters within the books I read.  They were people of all colors, shapes, sizes, and accents.  The people that shopped at the store  had no boundaries to their stories or how to present them. They came in shouting, screaming, whispering, crying   or solemn with hunger begging to be put on the books for a bit of food.  My grandparents store was a safe haven for the community of black people, spanish speaking families, Italians and gays (as was the term then) in the community.  It was a massive confessional booth. The people were gathered into a sort of wedding bouquet of various accents and skin colors in the struggle of daily survival  and future dreams.   I knew I would become a storyteller in every  and anyway possible. I do this as a filmmaker, comedian, literacy instructor, novelist, performance artist and musician.  I  abundantly enjoy engaging my audiences,  students, and friends in conversations of how and why it is essential to be present and realize the  stories in our life, to examine the narrative of our collect lives. And lastly… how to be the author and the voice of your life stories.

Warm regards,

Jovelyn D, Richards

Jovelyn the Writer

Story Practitioner


Tulips for Evening by Jovelyn Richards

Jovelyn, in intricate and poetic detail, describes the tension between the white folks bitter about Emancipation and the Negroes left to their own vices, thriving and living well. For the entitled white clans, crops aren’t growing and supplies are scarce. Feeling as though all is lost, they believe fault should land square on the free Negroes living in an old plantation house named Culver Tusk.  Read full review here.

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Kindle Book

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Jovelyn shares her gift of writing and storytelling!     
Yes! there's more more more.  Read short stories of Black Love & Intimacy on Jovelyn's digital storytelling platform:
Nappy Headed Love Stories

jovelyn richards

Jovelyn the Performance Artist

Professional Storyteller • Stand-Up Comedian 

"I'm a Man" by Jovelyn

In this original show at Central European University's Nador 13, Jovelyn shares short vignettes of race, gender, and class against the tumultuous backdrop of the United States in the early to mid 20th century. In this excerpt, Jovelyn inhabits the character of a man who's lost the love of his life.

"Miss Lucy" by Jovelyn

A clip of the character Miss Lucy, from Jovelyn Richards' show "In the House of the Mothers". Taped at La Peña Cultural Center 

"Come Home" by Jovelyn

When a husband goes to war....

Jovelyn as  "Miss Lily"

 Miss Lily is a mixed race woman with blonde hair and blue eyes who has been passing as white and has married a white man. In this scene, her husband realizes she is not white because she has given birth to a brown baby.

Jovelyn performs "Ms Patz House"

Short performance compilation

Sweet Baby Thursday Night Clip

The National Black Theater Festival 2013

Jovelyn the Instructor

Performance Literature Instructor • Coach • Guest Lecturer

Jovelyn teaches and participates in artist residencies specializing in theatrical expression all over the world, even in places like Budapest, Hungary. She works with talented students from diverse backgrounds to hone their skills in the theater craft.

This excerpt is a performance of the Belle Sisters at Bennett College in Greensboro, NC

Book Jovelyn for your college or theater/music department. She is available to perform or teach.

Jovelyn the Radio Host

Tune-in to Cover to Cover (Jovelyn's Bistro) on 94.1

Jovelyn's Bistro

Cover to Cover 94.1 KPFA

Jabali Smith discusses his memoir, “Slave: A Human Trafficking Survivor Finds Life,” with KPFA Host;Jovelyn Richards.He talks about the healing of the childhood trauma of sex trafficking that lead to his opening the doors to: The Well Child Foundation

Jovelyn's Bistro

Cover to Cover 94.1 KPFA

Sinn D. Rella shares from her new memoir:The Bitter Bitch Chronicles with host Jovelyn Richards. Sinn D. Rella discuss the impact of unhealthy work relations, work-related injuries and disability using the medicine of comedy.

Jovelyn's Bistro

Cover to Cover 94.1 KPFA

Sound healer and performance artist Nekia Wright talks about her latest revelations in healing for community and a discussion of the ways communities and people are actively searching out alternative healing modalities. Hosted by Jovelyn Richards.

Jovelyn the Director

Evidence of Love

Evidence of Love brings together a diverse group of people living within the intersection of oppression: women experiencing invisibility within the healthcare system, sex workers, people with disabilities, LGBTQ, working class and economically challenged people. 

This group of 7 performers takes center stage with their real stories of love during systemic distress.

Director Jovelyn Richards facilitated this four-week residency at La Peña Cultural Center to help each writer/performer shape their stories that have risen from inequity. The group experienced somatic healing practices and deep listening to help unpack the painful external and internal messages of racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, and ageism.

The residency culminated into a moving and healing theatrical storytelling performance set to original music.

Every Known Piece Of Me Had To Be Broken 

directed & co-written by Jovelyn D. Richards

Every Known Piece of Me Had To Be Broken premiered at the 2016 Himalayan Film Festival. The film was entered to the Sundance CAAMFest (Center for Asian American Film Festival) and choosen for audience viewing at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland, CA 2017.

The autobiographical film follows the journey of immigrant Nisha Thapa after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. Nisha returned to her birthplace of Nepal to face the aftermath and devastation the earthquake left behind. This tragic event took ten thousand lives and left millions homeless, triggered Nisha’s own emotional earthquake and ultimate questioning of her personal quest and spiritual journey.  

Jovelyn travels from San Francisco, California

Contact/Book Jovelyn

Don't hesitate to contact me                         

Please inquire beyond 90 days for events outside the United States

Phone: +1  925-922-1672

Upcoming Events 

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