Celebrated Playwright and Novelist Shay Youngblood Passes Away at 64

Shay Youngblood
Shay Youngblood

Shay Youngblood, a celebrated playwright and novelist known for her insightful portrayals of Black women and Black queer women, has passed away at the age of 64 in Peachtree City, GA. Her friend, Kelley Alexander, revealed that the cause of death was ovarian cancer.

Youngblood’s literary career was marked by a profound exploration of identity and community, reflected in works such as the short story collection The Big Mama Stories (1989), the novels Soul Kiss (1997) and Black Girl in Paris (2000), and her groundbreaking play Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery.

Jacqueline Woodson, a prominent children’s author, fondly recalled Youngblood’s impact on the literary world, especially within the small circles of Black female and Black queer writers.

Shay Youngblood
Shay Youngblood

Woodson’s admiration for Youngblood’s work was evident, particularly highlighting her first encounter with Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, a work that resonated deeply with many for its authenticity and emotional resonance.

Youngblood’s journey as an artist was marked by significant milestones. Following Sidney Poitier’s option of Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery for a film adaptation, she used the proceeds to further her education at Brown University in the early ’90s. This decision underscored her commitment to personal growth and academic pursuit, despite the film project never coming to fruition.

Despite her profound impact on literature and her close-knit community of fellow writers, Shay Youngblood is not survived by any immediate family members. Her legacy continues to resonate through her works, including the ongoing film adaptation of Black Girl in Paris by author Natalie Baszile, ensuring that her voice and storytelling endure for future generations.

Richard Soriano

Written by Richard Soriano

Richard is a massive WWE fan and you will often find him covering WWE news at MiceNews.

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