A BLACK WOMAN’S JOURNEY: FOR COLORED GIRLS
Created in 1975, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf, focuses on the struggles of black women not only from that era, but issues still pertaining to black women 35 years later. Shange’s powerful choreopoem is comprised of seven women trying to "sing a black girl's song…. Sing a song of life, she's been dead so long"(Shange 18), creating a voice for every woman. None of these women possess a name, only a color, to show that they represent all women of color. Shange includes themes of love, abandonment, sexuality, abortion, and domestic violence to emphasize what women in her community were and still are subjugated to. Through dance, poetry, and music these women slowly but surely find their true identity. Ntozake uses her work as a tool to empower all “colored girls” by creating these seven strong women that form a bond when they are able to find their identity as black women, and essentially in their journey make it to the end of their rainbows without committing suicide.
When looking into Shange’s life there’s no question that situations, which she had observed day-to-day or experienced herself, were imposed on her writings. Born as Paulette Williams she was raised in a middle class family, which was not a childhood common for blacks. Her family moved to St. Louis and she attended a non-segregated school where she had to endure blatant racism at the mere age of eight years old. She rebelled against her family’s satisfaction with being a part of the middle class when she still had to deal with the hardships of being black and a woman. Realizing that in the real world there were limitations being set on blacks and women in society, produced her anger: the catalyst to her decision to write to not only empower women, but to empower and teach young girls about social issues as well. Paulette showed that women could be successful when she entered Barnard College, but during...
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