“You have reached Annette Billings, daughter of one Netty Francis, mother of one Tiffany, Grandmother of two Kamahra, and Kendric. I am likely off writing poetry or daydreaming, but if you would leave a message, I will add you to the list of pleasant things I intend to do. Thank you!”
If you are fortunate enough to stumble upon Annette Billings’ voicemail, you will learn, in a nut shell, just who she is. Billings exudes an aura of absolute love. She has kind eyes, and an infectious smile that welcomes you into her bright and shiny being. She’s classy, humble, and an all-around beautiful soul. “I am who I am, because of those who have held me up, and those who I’ve held up.”
Billings is a multi-talented, free-spirited, extremely busy lady. In addition to being a mother, grandmother, and daughter; she is also a nurse, a writer, a poet, an actress, a director, and an advocate and activist for victims of abuse, and LGBT rights.
In her free time, she is active in her church, being a lay delegate. She helps run an open mic poetry night the first Tuesday of every month at Skivies Bar and Grill, with her poetry-partner-in-crime, Sue Edgerton, and has been a member of a writers group called Table for Eight for thirty years. She will be participating in a panel on grief at the Womyn Rising conference at Washburn University in February, and will also be presenting a workshop during that conference called, “All She Wrote.”
Billings loves to write and hopes to do so for a living one day. There is an intersection in the Rose Gardens at Gage Park that holds a special place in her heart, where she often goes to write. Her book, a collection of poetry, “Hopes Wife” was published in 2003. Over two-hundred copies were in print, and have all sold out. She is working, vigorously on her second book, and for a sneak-peak, you can go to her facebook poetry page, “Anetfullofhope”.
In addition to her poetry, Billings has also written two plays, “Neighbors,” and “Neighbors Too,” which she also starred in at the Metropolitan Community Churches of Topeka, Omaha, Pensacola, and West Palm Beach. These plays are near and dear to her heart, and a source of immense pride. Annette enjoys acting; however, she has found an immeasurable amount of passion in directing. She has directed three plays at Topeka Civic Theatre + Academy: “Lonely Planet,” “Music From a Sparkling Planet,” and “Three Viewings.”
She believes that children deserve to be loved by many, and protected by all. Being a survivor of childhood abuse, she is an avid protector of children, and activist against child abuse. She is also an active member of the LGBTQ community, and champions for equal rights. She has been spotted on the lawn of the Capitol holding signs, and fighting for those who sometimes cannot defend themselves.
“It is a natural outflow of my being to live an open and authentic life, so it never occurred to me to be in the closet.”
Annette Billings is an energetic, and compelling powerhouse of a woman, and everything she contributes to Topeka makes our community artistically, and culturally richer. This, my friends, is why she is a seveneightfive Woman Who Rocks!
[ Article by Sunshine Blue | Photography by Ali Hanlon ]