Poet, author, and playwright Ntozake Shange, whose Tony Award-nominated play that was the most appraised theatre piece in 1975 “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf,” is no more. As per her daughter, she died on Saturday at the age of 70.
Shange’s “For Colored Girls” defines the victimization of seven black women for sexism, racism, rape, and violence. It remained inspirational to progressive thinkers generations from #MeToo architect Tarana Burke to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lynn Nottage.
Nottage called her after getting notified of Shange’s death, “our warrior poet/dramatist.”
At the University of California, a professor of anthropology Savannah Shange said that while sleeping on Saturday, her mother died. She was living in an assisted living facility in Bowie, Maryland. In 2004, she encountered a series of strokes.
Savannah Shange said, “She spoke for, and in fact embodied, the ongoing struggle of black women and girls to live with dignity and respect in the context of systemic racism, sexism, and oppression”.
An interlaced sequence of poetic monologues set to music — Shange coined the form a “For Colored Girls” “choreopoem” for it — by African-American women, whom every single one was recognized just by a color she has.
Her work consists of idiosyncratic punctuation and nonstandard spellings stimulating agreements. One of her characters yells, “I will raise my voice / & scream & holler / & break things & race the engine / & tell all yr secrets about yourself to yr face.”
Afterward, Tyler Perry transformed it into a feature film as well starring Anika Noni Rose, Thandie Newton, Janet Jackson, and Kerry Washington.