My favorite book of all time is “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf”. I think it ought to be required reading for every woman of color on the planet. And I think it ought to be performed annually in every major city across the country.
Ntozake Shange didn’t just write the stories of our lives. She created a new genre, the choreopoem. “For colored girls” manages to be both the song and the dance. And if you’ve only read the book, you are missing out on a bit of the magic. Watching the ladies dance it out in living color will change your life. (I have not seen Tyler Perry’s adaptation, but am fairly confortable saying you’d be better off seeing a script in hand presentation at your local library.)
I personally try to read “for colored girls” once a year, And it never disappoints. It always gives strength to my bones.
The book turns 40 this year. (It’s older than I am.) But it is a timeless treasure, that will continue to encourage generations of colored girls who desperately need to know that they are enough.
You know, at least those colored girls that hang out at libraries, but what about the rest of them. The girls who think you should be able to boil your dissertation down to 140 characters or less. The multimedia mommies who need all of their senses assaulted in five minutes or less.
In steps queen Beyonce and poet/prophet Warsan Shire. Lemonade is clearly the evolution of the choreopoem.
The ladies take the messages of self-love and love of others, even to the detriment of ourselves to the next level. Then they set it to multiple genres of music, so that every girl can find something she likes. Then they throw in glimpses of us and themselves, our mothers and our daughters… And together they create a masterpiece. Sure, the album by itself is great, but the feature film puts our loves and lives on display and it is beautiful.
Just like us. We are poetry in motion.
And Don’t You Ever Forget It!