“Where there is woman, there is magic.” – Ntozake Shange
The tragic recent passing of playwright and poet Ntozake Shange inspired me to write this post. Shange’s death in October 2018 both surprised and saddened me. I had no idea that she had been ill for over a decade, after experiencing a series of strokes. I take comfort in knowing that her words are immortal and will continue to touch hearts and minds for time immemorial.
I became familiar with Shange’s work nearly ten years ago, after seeing the live-action movie “ For Colored Girls”, directed by Tyler Perry. While I wasn’t particularly impressed with the movie (the original work was a stage play and I feel is best experienced through life theater), I fell in love with the words and stories being told by Shange.
The most inspirational part of Shange’s legacy is the insistence upon creating her own identity. From changing her legal name to aiming to craft what she described as a “special aesthetic” for black women, she continued to form her own identity in a world that’s operates upon putting minorities into fixed boxes. Even for her most famous work, for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf, Shange had to craft new language to describe what she created. She titled her work a choreopoem, which merged music, poetry, prose, dance, and song in an innovating and inspiring way.
I don’t want to belabor this post with overanalyzing Shange’s incredible literary career and legacy. I’d much prefer that you all learn more about her for yourselves. I’m going to add a couple of links from YouTube for your enjoyment. And, in her memory, take some time today to create something new. Your soul will thank you for it.
I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!
(photos courtesy of QuoteParrot, AZQuotes and TheQuotesIn)