Houston Play On Purpose (HPOP) is a charitable and educational organization purposed with raising awareness for social causes, injustices and issues which disproportionately affect underserved and/or minority populations. Using research and the implementation of relevant data, HPOP will create theatrical productions to engage audiences of the Greater Houston Community to encourage the equality and empowerment of all people. While emphasis will be placed on social issues concerning minority groups and women, HPOP is interested in various worthy causes to inform its audiences, raising both funds and awareness while entertaining theatergoers.
Founder, President & Playwright
Author, Playwright and Screenwriter Holly Charles-Pearson finds extraordinary stories in the ordinary experience of people of color. Her original Thesis, Velvet: the Burden of Melanin and Motherhood, was transformed into the author's first novel Velvet (2013) and became the topic for her 2019 TED Talk, Being My Mother's Daughter, exploring Black Female Pathology and Generational Curses. The playwright also wrote and produced In All Thy Getting: The Forgotten Story of Freedmen’s Town (2017), a stage play celebrating the triumphant rise of an ex-slave settlement in Fourth Ward Houston, which sparked her decision to found Houston Play on Purpose, a non-profit organization purposed with raising awareness for social injustices and issues which disproportionately affect underserved minority populations. HPOP seeks out topics dealing with underserved populations such as 2018’s I’m Still a Woman, an episodic stage play aimed at raising awareness concerning the growing, yet taboo issue of infertility in women of color and 2019’s groundbreaking Black, White & Sunshine, which shed light on the disproportionality of minority children swept into both the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Her most recent stage play will address stages of homelessness caused by physical and psychological trauma. The aptly titled Blue Spectrum will expose poor mental health as the key trigger for homelessness amongst military veterans and sex traffic victims. While Charles always finds a way to incorporate research, history and activism throughout her work, she also embeds sarcasm, wit and humor. In her first film project, Charles-Pearson offers the narrative short If They Took Us Back, an alternate history short where the U.S. government mandated the return of all formerly enslaved people back to Africa in 1863; More than a century later, a descendant of the ‘Black Returns’ (DANIEL) decides to break the 150-year exile and return to the U.S. in exchange for overdue reparations from a remorseful, sympathetic and Black-obsessed America.
Purdue University: B.A. Communications, Production & Writing; Minor - African American Studies, Film Studies
Prairie View A&M University: M.A. English
Director, PR Committee
Ariel Johnson recently graduated from Howard University with a Bachelors of Business Administration in Marketing. While in D.C. she embraced the Chocolate City as a haven of culture and education. A transplant from Houston, she recently returned to her hometown ready to flex her new skills in public relations and business development. Her installation onto HPOP’s Board of Directors is one of many moves she’s making towards serving her community with integrity and purpose.
Ariel is a long time lover of the arts, as she deeply respects the craft of creativity as well the creatives that make it possible. She believes that as creations of the heavenly creator, we’re all born with innate abilities to honor, value and engage in the act of creativity. With a genuine heart for people, she strives to produce marketing content for Houston Play on Purpose that is both relevant and impactful, so that HPOP’s audience truly experiences the nature of the content that the organization strives to produce.
Angeline Abrera graduated from the University of Houston in 2022, where she earned a B.A. in Media Production, B.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), and minored in Creative Work at the UH Honors College. With her background in Broadcast Journalism and love for the arts, Angeline continues to create and share diverse stories across the media and entertainment industry through various art mediums. From producing news packages about local stories through PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs (SRL), freelancing for the past 6+ years shooting photos, videos, and designing content for local businesses and other creatives within her network, to now programming events across the globe with the music and tech organization, The Digilogue, her range of interests and skills has allowed her work to be seen across various industries. Additionally, her passion for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) has manifested into every project that she takes on, most notably as a panelist for PBS NewsHour’s SRL Panel, “The future is now: How young storytellers are building a stronger, more diverse media industry,” moderating an interview with Holly Charles-Pearson to discuss Sexual Harassment in the workplace as a woman of color for her Gender & Violence course at UH, and programming an Asian American Heritage Month event in Los Angeles through The Digilogue, “Celebrating AAPI Women in Music & Tech.”
Angeline continues to find ways to intersect her skills in all things media and her knowledge in DEI and WGSS into her work. Along with being a freelance photographer, she is also the Content & Brand Strategy Coordinator at The Digilogue and a photojournalist at HTX VOX. After working with Holly Charles-Pearson for the past 5+ years on her creative endeavors, she’s honored to be a part of HPOP and Holly's upcoming short film If They Took Us Back to help bring Holly’s vision to life.
To past and present HPOP Directors and Board Members who have contributed to the success of various productions.
Director, PR Committee Lead
Ebonee is a Lifestyle Enthusiast who currently works as a Global Process Owner for a Fortune 500 Technology Company. She's a recent MBA Graduate with a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt who is making big strides towards holding an Executive Leadership Title. Elder was inducted into the National Leadership Society and has been featured in Whose Who In America.
Ebonee is a community activist who enjoys volunteering and teaming up with other activists to bring awareness to social issues. She contributes much of her success to God and failing more times than she's ever succeeded.
A native Houstonian, Tristen Davis is the proud owner of Eden Salon Services. Over the past decade, he has worked endlessly to create a positive space for men and woman of all cultures, age groups, and economic backgrounds to come and relax. Tristen got his start in the cosmetology industry by pure luck. Attending high school in Houston, TX, Davis became engulfed in J.R.O.T.C, swimming, and theatre. Upon graduation, he took a leap of faith and decided to attend, Dillard University in New Orleans, LA!
As most of Tristen’s class was deep in their majors, he struggled with the newness of HBCU life. After a year of going back and forth between majors and dealing with the destruction of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, he finally found his niche in the cosmetology industry. In 2006, after balancing college courses during the day, cosmetology school in the evening, and working at Academy Sports overnight, it all soon became overwhelming. So, Tristen decided to pursue cosmetology full time. Houston bound in 2008, life for Tristen began to come full circle as he worked diligently to perfect his craft. At present, Tristen has worked alongside other talented stylists for the Houston Texans Cheerleaders for the past nine years. He has styled hair for the iconic Essence Festival and was an educator for the Australian product brand Kevin Murphy.
In 2009 Tristen joined the young adult choir at The Church Without Walls where he ministers weekly with a dynamic choir! J.R.O.T.C still plays a major role in Tristen’s life. In his free time, he volunteers at his high school alma mater, mentoring kids, and traveling with the drill teams to various competitions. Each year, the school travels to Texas A&M to compete in the state competition. Family is, by far, the joy of Tristen’s life. With nine nephews and one niece, Tristen freely and fairly spreads his love to each of them. From a young age, his parents and siblings have continued to keep him grounded.
Today, Davis is overjoyed with the new task of being the newest Board Member of HPOP. He is excited about sharing his love for the theater and has high hopes of being a part of a company that brings uplifting messages to new audiences through song, poetry, dance, and acting.
Director, PR Committee, Web Designer
Miko is a young, driven professional with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, with a minor in Human Development and Family Studies, from the University of Houston- Main Campus. She has also studied Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of South Florida- Sarasota- Manatee. Professionally, Shymika is a Senior Program Administrator at a global natural and built asset design and consultancy firm. She is an active member of the Social Activities Committee, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, the Digital Innovation Group and is the President of the Black Employee Network aka BEN.
On a personal level, Shymika has a passion for people, helping others and sharing knowledge. She has volunteered at the DePelchin Children’s Center, The Center for Hearing and Speech, facilitated a fundraising tour at Rutherford B.H. Yates Museum for the play In All Thy Getting: The Forgotten Story of Freedmen’s Town, and more.
Known to her friends and on her socials as “Miko”, Shymika is a brand ambassador for CURLS, an international natural hair care company. As Model Miko, she has ripped the runway of several local Houston designers for over a decade. She has also had a few print ads for other prestigious natural hair care companies. Miko is a natural hair enthusiast, makeup fanatic and in general a big kid at heart who loves to have fun and enjoy life.
Miko keeps a social media presence on all major platforms and has a YouTube channel. On the Go with Miko, focuses on balancing multiple roles women typically hold: Wife, Mother, Career Woman, and most importantly, YOURSELF! “Journeying through the Firsts without Forgetting who you First Were.” Topics on her channel include natural hair care, makeup tutorials, DIYs/How To, organizational tips, self-care and wellness. Miko is married to her best friend, Jamel “Coach Jay” Coleman, and they have one son, Christopher aka CAC.
Crystal Day, author of “A Diva’s Guide to Success” and Founder of Diva Day Consulting, is a native Houstonian who began pursuing her career in athletics at a young age. As a bright-eyed 8 year old, she began her journey as a runner, dancer, and gymnast. Coach Day is currently the Physical Education and Health Department Chair, as well as, a Physical Education Instructor in the Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District. Coach Day is currently the Head Boys Cross Country and Head Girls Track & Field Coach at Jersey Village High School. Her spirit of pride and excellence stemmed from her teachings under the Cross Country and Track & Field programs at Prairie View A&M University, where she then graduated Suma Cum Laude to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Performance with a minor in Dance. This is her 13th year as a teacher and coach. Coach Day has a profound passion for teaching and inspiring, and she has made it her life’s mission to give back to a community that has fostered her spirit of Determination, Intelligence, Vibrancy and Amazement as a woman through mentoring and leadership guidance
Minerva is a proud first generation Mexican American Alumni of the Art Institute of Seattle. Her 12 years of retail design have encompassed various roles, ranging from Visual Merchandiser, to Interior Designer, to Remodeling Management. Currently, she is pursuing an Art Education degree from Lone Star College and University of Houston Downtown.
As a Houston native, her goal is to serve the community by sharing her appreciation of various art mediums. As a dedicated mother of two, she strives to lay the foundation for them to experience and enjoy the diverse, cultural melting pot that is her hometown of Houston, Texas.