Sunday, October 28, 2018

In Memorian: Ntozake Shange

I was deeply saddened yesterday when I learned of the passing of Ntozake Shange (nee Paulette Williams).  I felt like I knew her, although I'd never even met her.

If you're a Black woman of a certain age, the first live performance you saw, may have been "for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf."  My favorite line in one of the poems is "Somebody done walked off with my stuff."  That line resonates in the board room as well as the bedroom.

Ntozake Shange was as much a part of my coming of age with "colored girls" as Maya Angelou was with "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings."  Because both of them spoke to me because they were me and they understood me.  A young black girl coming of age.

If you're a millennial, your first time seeing "colored girls" might have been the movie adaptation.  

If you knew Ntozake Shange's work, you'll want to go back and re-read it.  All of it.  That's what I plan to do and if you don't know her work at all, you're in for a real literary education.

Ntozake Shange was a feminist, a playwright, a brilliant, author, a mother and a soul sister.

Her work will live forever.