For Colored Girls, When One Blog Post Is Not Enuf

We have had such a tremendous interest among our bloggers in Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls that we’ve posted a number of their analyses, both before and after the film’s premiere this past Friday. It’s not hard to understand why the hoopla: Ntozake Shange’s beloved For Colored Girls, Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, is a touchstone in African American women’s art–let alone in the hearts and minds of African American women. Its cinematic representation is more than a movie; it’s a cultural event of deeper import. Would a man–let alone a blockbuster moviemaker with a heavy-handed comedic/moralistic style–do it justice?

Here are some of the answers our bloggers have given:

Pre-release, Mako Fitts worried that:

What is most damaging about [Perry’s] characterizations is that they are coming not from the lived experiences of Black women, but from the mediated gaze of a Black man. … Classic Black feminist texts adapted from the perspective of a man is problematic.

C. Davida Ingram pointed out:

Perry’s churchified high camp is no match for a poet like Shange who can pen the line: ‘& if jesus cdnt play a horn like [archie] shepp/ waznt no need for colored folks to bear no cross at all.

Christa Bell posited:

Whether [Perry] gets the presentation of this story wrong or right, we must still be adamant in our questioning of who in this culture is allowed, through access and privilege, to tell the stories and control the representations of black women.

After seeing the film, Mako Fitts decided:

Instead of interpreting Shange’s work as an epic of self-determination, [Perry] uses the backs of [Shange’s] colored girls as a bridge to his own catharsis.

And Linda Villarosa, though admittedly “not an apologist” for men, nonetheless takes their side here:

Men don’t get a fair shake in the movie; they are bashed and trashed from start to finish. 

Finally, Fitts, Bell and Ebony Utley–who previously wondered on the Ms. Blog, “Can’t Women Do Better Than Tyler Perry?”–put together a lively videoblog discussion about the film in a three-way Skype conversation:

Now what do you think? We’d love to read your comments …

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    Comments

    1. Frederick D Fitts says:

      I am impressed but not surprised after receiving the forwarded link to this website, that my daughter Mako Fitts got up and made some serious commentary here on the Ms Blog internet forum. Her mom and I went to see the film this afternoon and were thoroughly charged up and emotional after viewing the production. As an African-American man I can seriously relate to the 1950's era [for me] and my own up bringing in the city projects in Brooklyn New York. Witnessing the many forms of abuse at the hands of my stepfather against my mom, my six other siblings and myself. In context, Tyler Perry in my honest opinion demonstrated that indeed many women go though all manner of abuse but sadly, its the man that usually causes the crises within the home and in the relationship. What got to me the most in the film was how the one man, down on his luck, out of work and having to resort to alcohol to resolve his issues. There was a fair amount of insecurity and lack of self esteem in his role that caused him to go off the deep end. Had he had some form of counseling or perhaps a better, stronger support mechanism with his girlfriend, things may not have turned out the way they did with the two kids. I highly recommend anyone and everyone to check out this film. You will not be disappointed, trust me.

      • Beautiful to see (a man) owning up to things that were real in the 1950's and is still real today. Bless You and your family!

    2. My impression: The movie's intent was to depict the tragedies that occur within the lives of women. I do not believe this depiction intends to denigrate men. Rather, having been one who triumphed over a number of the issues presented in the movie, it is meant to strengthen the resolve of women to come out of and pass through the tragedy thrust at them; culpability included. We as women do not need to feel that we are alone and misunderstood.

      • So very true. This movie…was real! It was one to be discussed. It was one, that I left the theater just thinking about. It was awesome! All these women had been hurt, the older women had already experienced the pain that many of the younger ladies was enduring. But they made it out! They were there to counsel and nurture. I loved this move.

    3. Angela Salgado says:

      I am grateful to Ntozake Shange and Sapphire for not surrendering to pressure from the self appointed cultural purists in academia who demand that works of art by & about African American people be sanitized versions of life. I am thankful that Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Zora Neale Hurston did not suppress their honest portrayals of courage that emerge from dysfunction in families and the suffering of women and children at the hands of husbands, fathers and boyfriends. I honor Lee Daniels and Tyler Perry for investing their talent, time and resources to bringing the writing of Black women artists to the screen for the young poets of today and future generations of artists.

    4. This movie was awesome! After so much negativity about the black women. Why so many black men choose women from another race. This movie was right on point. To many it appeared to be another movie that puts black men down…however, black men must accept the fact that they are indeed a part of why black women are the way they are. Take responsibility! Now…black women (we) must learn to not let anyone set the tone for our very own life. Life is too short and just as the movie stated…don't let anyone take "Your Stuff". Let the truth stand, the things revealed in this movie was very much real for today. Black men need to take responsibility for how they have contributed to the attitude and behavior that haunts their very own sistas. Tyler Perry…thank u for being a BLACK man not afraid to look "BENEATH THE SURFACE" to understand and see whats really going on. Many people are afraid to know whats under the surface. But to truly love, to truly understand, and to truly be real and in tact with the truth…one must be willing to go beneath the surface. You did it Tyler and women around the world love u for it. So good to see a black man to stand for whats real.

    5. I believe Tyler Perry did a superb job with this movie. For me, it had nothing to do with men…it was not a male bashing movie. Instead, it depicted the many plights that black women face…men where merely used as catalysts to bring it to the forefront. The movie had such a deeper meaning for women of color…in taking responisbility for themselves and coming full circle with self love and what that means.

    6. I think its sad that its always about color . All women of all colors have been hurt n have went through the same things. All women.

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