For Colored Girls is a Powerful Film Celebrating Sisterhood

As a suicide survivor, I’m well aware of just how debilitating trauma can be. Sometimes the weight is so heavy you feel as if nothing could ever lighten the load. You feel as if there is no way to come up from the abyss and breathe. You feel as if the only way out that makes sense is to drift off to sleep one last time.

When I watched this film it spoke to the very core of my being. I personally identified with some of the things that happen to women, especially experiencing sexual trauma. Also, I’ve also witnessed so many of the women around me go through similar things as well. Sadly, violence and abuse have been a common aspect of being female in my family.

Coming from a community where mental illness isn’t recognized as legitimate and where girls are blamed when bad things happen to them, it’s very easy to feel completely alone in your despair. This despair is often compounded by the fact that you can’t always talk about what you’ve experienced. Silence is always preferred, especially when people believe “God will not give you more than you can handle.”

Although this film shines a bitter light on the realities of these women, it also shows the healing power of sisterhood. It is through the connection to each other that these women ultimately find respite, peace, and opportunity to mend.

For Colored Girls (2010)

When The Rainbow Is Enuf: The cast of For Colored Girls. From left to right: Anika Noni Rose (as Yasmine), Kerry Washington (as Kelly), Janet Jackson (as Jo), Kimberly Elise (as Crystal), Phylicia Rashad (as Gilda), Loretta Devine (as Juanita), Tessa Thompson (as Nyla) and Thandie Newton (as Tangie). Courtesy of Lionsgate

Synopsis:

Each of the women portrays one of the characters represented in the collection of twenty poems, revealing different issues that impact women in general and women of color in particular.

Director: Tyler Perry
Writers: Tyler Perry (screenplay), Ntozake Shange (play)
Stars: Janet Jackson, Anika Noni Rose, Whoopi Goldberg

This film is based on the play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange. I have to admit I was a bit nervous when I heard that Tyler Perry was writing the screenplay. His depictions of Black women leave a lot to be desired if you asked me. However, I was blown away by the film. It was a spectacular rendition of the play and actually felt somehow maintained the feel of a play.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Ntozake Shange

This movie is a must-see, but as is usually the case with film adaptations, the book version of the play offers even richer and in-depth stories. If you like the movie, I would definitely recommend reading the book.

Book Summary:

This revolutionary, award-winning play by a lauded playwright and poet is a fearless portrayal of the experiences of women of color—“extraordinary and wonderful…that anyone can relate to” (The New York Times) and continues to move and resonate with readers today more than ever.

From its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. Passionate and fearless, Shange’s words reveal what it is to be of color and female in the twentieth century.

First published in 1975 when it was praised by The New Yorker for “encompassing…every feeling and experience a woman has ever had,” for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf will be read and performed for generations to come. Here is the complete text, with stage directions, of a groundbreaking dramatic prose poem written in vivid and powerful language that resonates with unusual beauty in its fierce message to the world.

Other Great Films That Celebrate Black Women:

If you like these types of movies, also check out my IMDB list Movies 4 Thinkers!

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