I have yet to touch on anything other than YA so I figured this week I would look at not only poetry, but what is dubbed a Choreopoem. That being said, we are looking at the choreopoem by Ntozake Shange “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When The Rainbow Is Enuf.” I remember watching the Tyler Perry directed movie and falling in love with each woman, and the powerful monologues they were presenting.
I first read this poem, in college. I had found it in my college bookstore, one of the Literature classes was using it and I decided to buy it. Seeing as every student on campus was buying books at the same time, I decided to start reading some of it in line. I don’t really remember how long I was there, but it was long enough to for me to read all eighty-eight pages of it and make annotations.
This choreopoem features different black women, only ever referred as “Lady in (color),” and features a lot of the hardships that women of color in particular have to deal with. Now this isn’t to say that women of other races do not go through similar ordeals. It is more to shed light on the fact that these things happen to women of color, specifically black women, too often. So much so that it is engrained in their DNA. Shange highlights a vicious cycle that often finds itself hidden in the shadows along with the rest of the dirty laundry.
We are shown different types of abuse: physical, sexual, and mental, abuse. We see pregnancy, abortion, infertility, STDs, death, rape, and many other traumas. This book takes a hard look at those events that women go through and offers a specific view from the woman’s eyes. The poems have these beautiful passages, describing women and their sexuality, women and their struggles, women and their power.
I will tell you this: the movie takes a few artistic liberties and moves poems around and forms the plot to specific parts of the poetry, but in my opinion, it does it justice. I love this book and the poetry within, I think that for some the movie will help them understand the meaning behind the poetry and that is a very powerful thing in itself.
I would highly recommend if you haven’t already read the book first and see what you can infer and then watch the movie and compare. I find things like this to be very entertaining and enlightening, because you see what you thought was important and you see what the director and producers thought was important and from there you can dig a little deeper into the all of its meaning.
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