Ntozake Shange on Stage and Screen

In this video Tina Campt introduces a panel discussion of Tyler Perry’s 2010 film version of Ntozake Shange’s 1975 Obie Award-winning play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. In the video, Ms. Shange speaks candidly with Soyica Diggs Colbert, the Assistant Professor of English at Dartmouth College and now […]

Performing Shange

In this video, “Performing Shange,” Barnard students pay tribute to Ms. Shange with ensemble performances of dance, music, and theater. Led by music producer and BCRW Alumnae Fellow Ebonie Smith ’07, the students perform excerpts from Ntozake Shange’s oeuvre. Their collective discussions of Shange’s work resulted in adaptations and original pieces that are both directly […]

Recommended Reading and Online Resources

“I use poetry the way some people use encyclopedias: to find out more. I listen for a voice that springs from a real breath, a sweating body that speaks, or I stop reading.” —Ntozake Shange, interviewed in “Rescuing the Canon” in June Jordan’s Poetry for the People: A Revolutionary Blueprint (New York: Routledge, 1995). Works […]

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 […]

Monologues for Colored Girls: Shange’s Influence on Barnard’s All Women-of-Color Vagina Monologues

these stains & scars are mine this is my space i am not movin —Shange, nappy edges, (a cross country sojourn) The first time I heard the name Ntozake Shange, I was still in high school. I was invited to attend a production of for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow […]

“Everything you do . . .”: Recipes from Ntozake Shange’s Art/Work

“Cooking is the oldest of the arts.” —Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin, The Physiology of Taste Cooking food and other rituals of daily life compose the corps/core of Ntozake Shange’s artistic praxis. This essay focuses on recipes as food for life in Shange’s performative art/work.[1] It analyzes her aesthetic practice as a form of nourishment and political empowerment. […]

“There’s Trouble Out There”: Interview with Director Wole Oguntokun

Playwright-director Wole Oguntokun has been a major figure in contemporary Nigerian theater for over 15 years. As the artistic director of the Renegade Theatre, he directed groundbreaking productions, including a Yoruba version of The Winter’s Tale in London’s Globe theater as part of the Shakespeare Olympiad. He became the first Nigerian producer and director to […]