I’m glad I never saw For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf on stage. If I did, I’d be tempted to compare it to Tyler Perry’s commendable attempt at turning Ntozake Shange’s series of poems into the film For Colored Girls.
I never cared for the title of the poems when they were all the rage in the 1970s. I thought it was a book about weak women who offed themselves because they couldn’t cope with life. Silly me. I was young and didn’t know that this collection, first presented in December 1974 at Bacchanal, a women’s bar outside of Berkeley, was considered perhaps the most important work about black female identity ever. (Don’t tell me you thought it was Waiting to Exhale.)
So when I went to a screening the other night, I had no idea what to expect. I purposely avoided reading the early reviews, including the one by The Hollywood Reporter that garnered so much attention in the blogosphere, and went in with an open mind. I left with a clouded mind of disturbing scenes I may never forget — but more importantly with a smile knowing the eight women above were on the right path. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, which at times was difficult to watch. I only would have changed one major thing and that is, with all of the free clinic options today, why would someone go to a drunk, back-alley abortionist in 2010? Other than that, no complaints from me.
There will be those who pick on Tyler for showing black men as being on the DL, physical abusers, rapists and cheaters. But as the director said, he decided to insert one positive image of a black men to offset the negative characters. A few more would have balanced the scales but I personally don’t see the need. I didn’t leave the theater thinking any less of black men and hope others won’t either. I may never smile at Michael Ealy again after he played his role so superbly just like I haven’t smiled at Laurence Fishburne since he owned the role of Ike Turner in What’s Love Got to Do with It.
Had I not gone to the screening, I’m pretty sure I would have paid to see this movie because of the fine collection of actresses. It would have been the first time I gave Tyler my money. I’ve seen a few of his films but only on cable: Why Did I Get Married, Daddy’s Little Girls and Diary of Mad Black Woman. And I enjoyed all three. It’s not that I boycott his movies. I just haven’t been drawn to them enough to pull out my wallet nor have I ever been tempted to watch one of his television shows. (For the record, I haven’t seen The Social Network yet though want to and will before award season starts. And I think I was one of the last to see Avatar.) Personally, I like Tyler. When his mother died, I was moved enough to post a note expressing my condolences on his website because I knew how close they were. Also,I appreciate all the good Tyler is doing for black actors and give him props for creating his own studio. His power cannot be diminished. And I’m glad to see that he’s used it for such a worthwhile project like For Colored Girls.
I do hope you’ll see For Colored Girls. Let me know your thoughts if you do.