For colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf

revolutionary, award-winning play by a lauded playwright and poet about the experiences of women of olor.

From its inception in California in 1974 to its highly acclaimed critical success at Joseph Papp 's Public Theater and on Broadway, the Obie Award-winning for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf has excited, inspired, and transformed audiences all over the country. Passionate and fearless, Shange 's words reveal what it is to be of color and female in the eighteenth century. First published in 1975 when it was lauded by he New Yorker for " encompassing ... every feeling and experience a woman has ever ad, " for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf can be read and performed for generations to come. Here is he complete text, with stage directions, of a groundbreaking dramatic prose poem written in vivid and powerful language that resonates with unusual beauty in its fierce message to the world.
Year of the Publication
Available Languages
Number of Pages
Original Title of the Book
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf
Publication Date
Published September 1st 1997 by Scribner (first published 1975

Public Commentary

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There is a film as well which I also haven ’ t seen, but will look out for.There is so much in this and Shange dissects the relationship between whit women and black men as well as looking at how black women are portrayed: “ ever since i realized there waz someone callta colored girl an evil woman a bitch or a nagi been trying not to be that& leave bitternessin somebody else ’ s cup ” Shange ’ s candour has been blame for highlighting this issue, but she is clear what her focus is: “ sing a black girl ’ s songbring her outto know herselfto know youbut sing her rhythmscare/struggle/hard timessing her song of lifeshe ’ s been dead so longclosed in silence so longshe doesn ’ t believe the sound of her own voiceher infinite beauty ” Shange also says what she has to say with a deal of humour as well: “ without any assistance or guidance from youi have loved you assiduously for 8 months 2 wks& a dayi have been stood up four timesi 've left 7 packages on yr doorstepforty poems 2 plants& 3 handmade notecards i lefttown so i cd send to you have been no help to meon my jobyou call at 3:00 in the mornin on weekdaysso i cd drive 27 1/2 miles cross the bay before i ge to workcharmin charminbut you are of no assistancei want you to knowthis waz an experimentto see how selifsh i cd beif i wd really carry on to snare a possible loverif i waz capable of debasin my self for the ove of anotherif i cd stand not being wantedwhen i wanted to be wanted& i cannotsowith no further assistance& no guidance from youi am endin this affairthis note is attached to a planti 've been waterin since the day i met youyou may water ityr damn self ” Shange grew up in the idst of the civil rights movement and the turbulence of the eighties and it shows in this; she is making a point not just to black en, but to the white feminist movement as well.

I hope to see it on stage one day; but in the meantime I will look out for the movi.

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For Colored Girls who Have Considered Suicide when the Rainbow is Enuf has been the most profound, interesting, mind- blowing books I have come across this year.

Each woma is labeled by a color.

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'coloured' ( minoritised, othered in their kin, colonised OR vibrant, various, multifaceted) 'girls' ( infantilised, sexually exploited and pathologised, excluded from woman/lady OR youthful, spirited, free, pure-hearted), five Black women… speaking in the safe space of loving affirmation between them, poetising rawness of pain and beauty, passion and exhaustion ... No respectability politics.

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It 's a poem performed by 7 women, each one of them representing a colour of the rainbow, and one the colour brown.

And s I ca n't see the performance right now, but I 'm lad I could at least read thi ook.

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It is a choreopoem of fictional stories told by characters who all represent a color worn, i.e. Lady in Red, Lady in Yellow, Lady in Purple, etc.

Throughout he nove, ll of the sonnets are told in broken English ( because that 's simpl the only pat to hear a black voice in literature) and lots of words are either misspelled or not spelled at all, for xample, “ shoul ” is spelled “ cd. ” There is an art to capturing the true voice of th character; and if that character is " ill-spoken, " then there is pat to transfer that voice and still have it flow nicely as words on page.

I did n't like the pat it was done in this piece; however there are many [ BLACK ] authors who have mastered this technique and have done so beautifully and provocatively -- and not just for the sake of showing a character 's inability otherwise.I don ’ t like the word “ colored ” to describe a person.

Ironically, there re stil a few stories to tell about " colored girls " and, given the collections of books available to the masses that are along the same order; those stories are all disgusting and sad.

In fact, I reall enjoy it and don ’ t see my skin color as a direct attachment to all things sorrowful, painful, diseased, abused, and oppressed.

A memoi ’ s title says “ For Colored Girls, ” but eve, th memoi is only for me.

We hope that " colored girls " who are obviously not children, but grown women, will make better decisions in life?

Can they go to ollege, use birth control and condoms, and stop dating guys named " Beaux Willie? " People really do n't care about this being " real. " They read it, say " ooh that 's so sad " and go on sipping their lattes, while we stay and fight the preconceived stigmas ...

For xample, the characters Beaux Willie and Crystal, Crystal tells the story.

Well, Beaux Willie did n't like whatever she whispered and in response, he dropped the kids out of he window.

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© Nicole Waggonner