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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        August 12, 2008

Press/media contact: (818) 752-2225



In the mid-1980’s an acting class of Adilah Barnes’ at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco gave her a dried flower-covered white textured book as an inspirational reminder they wanted her to consider writing an acting to reach more actors globally.  The thought was far from Barnes’ mind at the time.

Fast forward to 2008 and the upcoming release of her book, “On My Own Terms: One Actor’s Journey.” This self-published book by Xlibris Publishing Company book takes the reader on an unforgettable ride with Barnes from age sixteen when she took her first acting class in Project Upward Bound at Cal State University, Chico. There she played The Queen in A. A. Milne’s play, “The Ugly Duckling.” The powerful role of The Queen would only foreshadow many other powerful roles on stage, in film and television.

Adilah Barnes is a testament to the truth that is possible to become a successful working actor without the trappings of fame.  Her humble beginnings began in the dusty prune fields near Oroville, California and her acting achievements have garnered her roles in such award-winning films as Erin Brockovich and HBO’s Iron-Jawed Angels. She has temped as a receptionist and also worked five seasons as an actor on the top-rated television sitcom, Roseanne. She knows firsthand the gritty reality of the have-nots and has also walked through the seemingly illustrious gates of Hollywood. Barnes has navigated through her seemingly insurmountable odds and come out on the other side as an actor on her own terms.  

In a deeply personal account of her own life and career, Barnes shares her battles, triumphs, frustrations, and joys, both silent and overt.  Aside from focusing on Barnes’ multifaceted career, On My Own Terms brings to life a historical backdrop including the impact of the Civil Rights Movement, Viet Nam War, Black Power Movement, assassinations of public figures, and unrest of the 1960s during her coming of age.

Although Barnes’s wings spread many years ago to include notable television and film work, she has also maintained her roots in theatre. Since 1990, she has toured her one-woman historical show, “I Am That I Am: Woman, Black” in three continents including North America, Africa, and Europe. Her many awards include an Outstanding Achievement Award from DramaLogue and a Red Carpet Award from Women in Theatre in 2007.

Even before she became an actor at age sixteen in Project Upward Bound at California State University at Chico, Barnes began her creative expression by picking up the pen as a short story and poetry writer. She was born and raised in nearby Oroville, California, a rural community of dusty roads, busy bodies and indeed a village that raised its own. Many of her early small town experiences and community mentors have significantly shaded her work as an adult actor and writer.

Barnes gained her formal college education and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre Arts at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She continued to connect her creative dots in the Bay Area as she cut her teeth on professional theatre and for the last nineteen years has resided in the Los Angeles area as an actor, instructor, producer, writer and internet talk show host.

Her latest artistic calling has summoned her to Atlanta, Georgia, making her a bicoastal artist. In 2007 in the Atlanta area, Barnes founded The Writer’s Well, A Literary Retreat for Women. With the backdrop of 1.8 acres of sprawling Georgia pines, oaks and maple trees, its woodsy and serene environment lends itself well to offering a perfect setting to write without the distractions of the familiar.

Barnes is also Co-Founder and Executive Producer of the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival. March 2008 marked its 15th Anniversary of producing over 400 solo artists and since 2005 teaching over 3000 public school youth. Performers from India, the Netherlands, New York, Chicago, Miami, Oklahoma and up and down the state of California joined hands to celebrate this year’s banner Festival year. The non-profit received numerous government commendations including those from Mayor Villaraigosa, and State Senators Diane Watson and Alex Padilla.

Says Barnes, “I was not led to write a traditional acting book, but rather one where I use my life as the backdrop for lessons for the actor, both beginning and seasoned. It is also my intent to offer inspiration to anyone who has ever had a dream and wants to be reminded that it is possible to achieve dreams beyond one’s wildest imagination.”

A review by A Gathering of the Tribe Magazine says, “Rich with bloodline of heritage, textured, nuanced, and mystic, transforms with the rhythm of an artistic griot…This is an important work…a profound read with political heart…Although this is an Actor’s story, this is the Hero’s journey…This is a deeply intelligent, thoughtful, fearless read that dares anyone to categorize it. ..encapsulates a journey, lyrical, poetic, and evocative; an uncharted river, challenges the reader to step across.”

Says actor Ella Joyce who wrote the foreward for Barnes’ book, “She did it. She did it with dignity and love of the craft. She did it on her own terms. This is a must read…There are so many wonderful things I can say…but you, the reader will experience her words for yourself.”

Longtime friend Danny Glover adds, “I’ve known Adilah since the ‘70s when we were both part of the theatre scene in the Bay Area. Not only is she an actor I respect for her well-crafted work, I also tip my hat for what she’s contributed to the theatre community in both Los Angeles and the Bay Area. In both cities, she made things happen by starting organizations that supported actors.”


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