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Taking Another Look at ‘For Colored Girls’

Taking Another Look at 'For Colored Girls'

Not too long ago, director Tyler Perry became a target for criticism after deciding to adapt Ntzoke Shange’s seminal genre-bending 1975 choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who’ve Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf” to screen. (I must admit that I too, was among that chorus of skeptics.)

That said, it’s not every day that a film comes along that strives to bring the force of poetry to the silver screen as a call-to-arms to women of color to take better care of themselves and to find their own voice.

The primarily female, high-profile cast of “For Colored Girls” includes Kimberly Elise, Janet Jackson, Loretta Divine, Thandie Newton, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, Phylicia Rashad, Whoopi Goldberg, and Macy Gray.

Of the nine actresses and their performances, I was especially struck by the quietly nuanced acting of Kimberly Elise (whom I had the privilege of talking with about this film), Whoopi Goldberg, and Macy Gray. Elise told me that the best part of the film, for her, was that it provided a way for her to be in contact with women whose work she’d always admired: “Being in this film gave us access to each other.”

For Colored Girls will air on Xfinity on Demand. Here’s the trailer:

Who was your favorite character in “For Colored Girls”? And, in your opinion, was this adaptation successful?

Editor’s Note: Throughout Black History Month and beyond, Shadow and Act will partner with XFINITY to celebrate Black entertainment. XFINITY is creating a unique digital community built around the love of Black entertainment at Shadow and Act hopes to enrich this community and provide a launching pad for insightful discussion. Look to Shadow and Act for features and content examining and exploring key themes and topics that run throughout the history of Black entertainment.

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