“ Shange’s piece viscerally depicts the crooked room that black women confront. The production portrays the harshest and most bitter experiences of black women’s lives. Her characters suffer sexual and romantic betrayal, abuse, rape, illegal abortion, heartbreak, and rejection.
For colored girls has lasting significance for so many because it presents black women’s experiences with unflinching rawness that is not primarily concerned with translating these experiences for a broader audience. Its primary goal is to give voice to black women by acknowledging the challenges they face, not to invoke pity or even empathy either from black men or from white viewers. It speaks to and about black women, and it does so by using language, images, and experiences that resonate for black women. For many who love it, reading or seeing Shange’s for colored girls is like noticing not that one is alone in the crooked room but, rather, that there are others standing bent, stooped, or surprisingly straight. It is an experience of having someone make visible the slanted images that too frequently remain invisible.
— Melissa Harris-Perry (via wretchedoftheearth)
“ You don’t need to remind the NAACP that nothing, not even FREEDOM, is free
Melissa Harris-Perry on Romney’s response to being boo’d for saying he’ll repeal “Obamacare”, where he said “if they still want free stuff, vote for the other guy. But free stuff isn’t really free”
“ Perry’s film distorts Shange’s work of self-determination in ways that reinforce the crooked room imposed on black women by male-centered religion and resorts to tools of shaming that so often derive from the crooked room. Although the women in Shange’s original work rely on spirituality and divine support, they are not beholden to any specific definition of God. In Perry’s film the women are subjected to more dominating, moralistic, and constrained notions of morality. Perry creates a new character, played by Whoopi Goldberg, who is a religious fanatic. She serves as a tool of shaming surveillance in the film, interjecting her judgmental, mocking, dogmatic Christian ethics over Shange’s original poetry. Perry also generates a homophobic story line that does not exist in Shange’s play. In this subplot, one of the women learns she is infected with HIV by her closeted gay husband, whose philandering is caused by the woman’s neglect of the relationship in favor of pursuing success in her career. And in a particularly egregious revision of the original text, Perry conflates the Lady in Yellow monologue about sexual freedom and exploration with the Lady in Blue narrative about seeking an unsafe, illegal abortion.
Melissa Harris-Perry (via wretchedoftheearth)
And Shange added a poem about HIV to updated copies of the orignal text, and while it does deal with a closeted Black man, it is NOTHING like what is in the movie, at all. What Perry did with that text is an affront to the talent he gathered to act in that movie.
“ In a nation with the racial history of the United States I am baffled by the idea that non-racism would be the presumption and that it is racial bias which must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.