Maytal Etehad on Lorraine Hansberry

“She broke the glass curtain!”

Playwright Lorraine Hansberry was the first African-American woman produced on Broadway. A Raisin in the Sun, a gritty, realistic play about a Black family's struggle to leave their oppressive tenement life behind by getting a house in the suburbs, shocked and enthralled audiences. The play ran for 530 performances. Tragically, Lorraine died at 34 of pancreatic cancer, but until the end, she fought for civil rights, women’s rights and equal treatment for all people. Still paving the way for young women, Student Maytal Etehad tells us that Lorraine Hansberry inspired her to express her art "...even if it's so raw and so real.”

Our storytellers share these astonishing women with us conversationally and unscripted; we fact-check afterwards and note any major discrepancies for accuracy.


Maytal Etehad

Los Angeles native Maytal Etehad is a a twenty-one-year-old POC queer artist interested in film photography, fashion, creative direction, jewelry construction, painting, and much more. Maytal has a larger following on Tiktok where they make fashion, comedy, and art-related content. Maytal recently published an interactive art magazine, SPILLED. Maytal is a freelance model as well and can be seen on Esquire Italia, I-D mag, Chantelle Paris, JennyFax, and others. Maytal has worked on multiple of DeathbyRomy’s music videos as the creative director, and assisted in DeathbyRomy’s cover art. Maytal has assisted in styling for HarperSlate and has styled on her own. Maytal’s life mission is to make art that makes outcasts feel seen and heard.

Featured Woman

Lorraine Hansberry

Lorraine Hansberry was the first African-American female author to have a play performed on Broadway. Her best known work, A Raisin in the Sun, highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago. At the age of 29, she won the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award, making her the first African-American dramatist, the fifth woman, and the youngest playwright to do so. Hansberry worked at the Pan-Africanist newspaper Freedom, where she interacted with other intellectuals like Paul Robeson and W.E.B DuBois. Her work concerned African-American struggles for liberation and their impact on the world. Hansberry’s writings also discussed her lesbianism and the oppression of homosexuality. She died of pancreatic cancer at 34 on the closing night of her play The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window. Hansberry inspired the song by Nina Simone, “To Be Young, Gifted and Black” which was also the title of Hansberry’s autobiographical play.