Thursday, November 18, 2010

For Colored Girls...

I've read Ntozake Shange's For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuff more times that I can count. I was introduced to the choreopeom when I was an MFA student at Howard University. I have a cassette tape—yes, a cassette tape—of the original performance. I have a VHS tape (another dinosaur) of play produced for PBS (see clip below with Alfre Woodard). I have quoted this choreopoem in my academic work. I have quoted with choreopoem with my girlfriends while walking down 18th Street in Washington, DC. I have made artwork using this choreopoem as my subject. I have recited from the monologues to rock myself to sleep at night—I found God in myself and I loved her, fiercely. Shange's work of art has shaped my life, my scholarship, and my ministry. In many ways, I am fiercely protective of it. Needless to say I was less than thrilled when I first heard that Tyler Perry (and not Nzingha Stewart) was directing the work.
I managed to avoid all reviews of the movie--on television, in print, and online. I didn't watch Tyler Perry and the cast on Oprah because we all know that Oprah is notorious for giving away an entire move. I respectfully asked my friends to limit their remarks about the movie. I didn't want to know a thing. Not a thing.

Well, I saw the movie today. As much as I wanted to walk in as a critic, looking to see if Perry's work could stand up to the work that I knew and loved, as soon as the credits began to roll, I was a colored girl...
Watching the move, I shed more tears than I imagined I would. I cried tears of pain for the girl I once was. I cried tears of joy for the woman I am becoming. I cried for the daughters and mothers and aunties and grandmothers in our midst. I cried for the mothers of the church and the babies mother's in our midst. I cried. Tears are telling. Tears are cleansing. And I'll let my tears alone be my review.

image of book taken from
image from film taken from
image of tissue taken from

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