Issue 12.3-13.1 | Summer 2014/Fall 2014 / Guest Edited by Kim F. Hall, Monica L. Miller, and Yvette Christiansë

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 Associate Professor of English at Georgetown University, and Monica L. Miller, Associate Professor of English at Barnard, about her groundbreaking work and its controversial adaptation to the screen. Their discussion begins with Professor Diggs’ remarks about the origin of the For Colored Girls choreopoem and its journey to Broadway and on to film. Characterizing Tyler Perry’s filmic version of the choreopoem as melodrama, the panelists aver that Perry’s films offer simple solutions to complicated problems, that his film adapts rather than interprets the original. Queries from the audience include the controversy over the selection of Perry as producer/director of the film, the drafting of the script, the inclusion of the topics of AIDS and religion in the film, Perry’s decision to exclude movement and music as a bridge between character and incident in the film. Additionally, Shange discusses her teleplay for the 1982 PBS version of For Colored Girls and her poetic inspiration in memories, dreams, and black and Latino everyday life.