Skip to content

5 minutes with a Tony nominee: ‘Jaja’s African Hair Braiding’’s Whitney White

The Tony Award-nominated director made her Broadway debut with the braid-shop comedy.

Whitney White attends the 77th Annual Tony Awards Meet the Nominees Press Event at Sofitel New York on May 02, 2024 in New York City. (Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

“Jaja’s African Hair Braiding” opened cold on Broadway. It was a big swing for everyone involved, including director Whitney White, who made her Main Stem debut with the production. White previously served as assistant director of 2017’s “Marvin’s Room,” but “Jaja’s” marks her first time at the helm on the Main Stem.

But White’s name isn’t new to theatrical circles. She’s a recipient of the Susan Stroman Directing Award, an artistic associate at Roundabout Theatre Company and an associate artistic director of Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. She won an Obie Award in 2020 for her direction of Off-Broadway’s “Our Dear Dead Drug Lord” and has been nominated for Lucille Lortel Awards, a Drama Desk Award and an Outer Critics Circle Award for her Off-Broadway directing.

Here, White details the creation of “Jaja’s,” her partnership with playwright Jocelyn Bioh and the key to making audiences laugh.

Introductory Offer

$1/month for 6 months


Already have an account? Log in