In the Shadow of the Shadow State

Reprinted with permission from The Revolution Will Not be Funded (edited by INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence. Boston: South End Press, 2009). Organized philanthropy is playing a significant role in this age of tottering social standards, crumbling religious sanctions, perverse race attitudes, and selfish and ulterior motives. —Ira De A. Reid, 1944[1] Even in […]

Moving Across Disciplines and Genres: Teaching Shange

In “Moving Across Disciplines and Genres: Teaching Shange,” scholars, writers, and teachers explore what it means to teach Shange’s works as “embodied” texts. Using music, dance, voice and gesture, Shange “attacks, deforms and maims” the English language to create new spaces and forms more suited to afrodiasporic and black female experience. The video gives tips […]

Her Pen is a Machete: The Art of Ntozake Shange

In “Her Pen is a Machete: The Art of Ntozake Shange,” scholars, writers, and artists explore Ntozake Shange’s genre-defying achievements and ongoing influences. From her invention of the choreopoem to her revolutionary approaches to the body, movement, voice, music, dance, poetry, and prose, Shange’s work continues to create space for black women on the page […]

Introduction: Singing a “Black Girl’s Song” at Barnard and Beyond

it is possible to start a phrase with a word and end with a gesture/ that’s how I’ve lived my life/ that’s how I continue to study /produce black art —Ntozake Shange, “why I had to dance”[1] In the academic year 2012-2013, renowned poet, performance artist, playwright, and novelist Ntozake Shange, Barnard class of 1970, […]

the survival and the remaking: Interview with Performer Robbie McCauley on black history, universality, and for colored girls

Obie-Award-winning playwright, performer, and Emerson College Professor Emerita Robbie McCauley speaks about her 30-year range of experiences with for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf. Emphasizing the context of Shange’s choreopoem in black/American history and culture, Professor McCauley shares her thoughts on being a member of the play’s Broadway […]

Black Feminist Collectivity in Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf

Ntozake Shange’s for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf opens with a poem entitled “dark phrases.” The first stanza reads: dark phrases of womanhood of never havin been a girl half-notes scattered without rhythm/ no tune distraught laughter fallin over a black girl’s shoulder it’s funny/ it’s hysterical the […]

Learning How to Listen: Ntozake Shange’s Work as Aesthetic Primer

What follows is a purely subjective analysis. The primer of my title refers to several meanings of the word: A prayer book or devotional manual for the use of lay people. A book that covers the basic elements of a subject. For over three decades, Ntozake Shange’s writing has been a source of pleasure and […]

Indigo Generations: Shange in Praxis and Being the Folk

i. write the names dedication and preparation Read this article when you have a moment to participate in your own legacy. Join me as I acknowledge what made this possible. Or come back later. Find a pen. Find a blank enough space to write. Ready? Do this for me. Write the names. Write the names […]

Wildness: A Fabulation

A response to a discussion with Wildness filmmakers Wu Tsang and Roya Rastegar. This conversation took place on March 1, 2013 and kicked off the The Scholar & Feminist Conference 2013: “Utopia.” Watch the video here: I never made it to Wildness, the party. But I have spent enough intoxicated nights dancing in art-damaged queer […]

Activism and the Academy: A Utopian Proposition

If happiness and optimism appear too often as individual, psychological, overbearing and annoying to those excluded from their complacent joys, doesn’t hope sometimes arrive in collective, political and insurgent forms? …. [W]hat might the impact of mobilized hopefulness … be? That is the animating question for the political present. Can collective hope without delusion or […]