Harlem’s Schomburg Celebrates 40th Anniversary of Ntozake Shange’s “for colored girls” with Vibrant Exhibit

Back in December 1974, poet and playright Ntozake Shange with the help of four other performers brought her most famous work to date, for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf to life in a bar outside Berkeley, California.

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After moving to New York City, Shange continued to the ride wave of success which extended to Broadway, when her set of enlightening poems made it’s triumphant debut in 1976. She made history as the second black to woman after Lorraine Hansberry (Raisin in the Sun) to have a play performed on Broadway.

Since then for colored girls has undergone recent incarnations in various forms. Back in 2010, Tyler Perry attempted a film adaption that despite a promising cast that included, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose and Kimberly Elise among others didn’t quite live up to the high expectations assigned to such a distinguished piece. There was also a TV movie and an Off-Broadway version. But every step of the way, it has been clear that Shange’s most prized possession is still an enduring love letter to all women of color.

For colored girls dramatizes the plight of seven women who are color-coded – each of them have undergone some form of emotional trauma, due to the consequences of inhabiting an oppressive society that subjects them to racist and sexist situations.

Remarkably enough, every fragment of the play is adaptable and relatable despite the charged climate of the past. It is for this reason that media content producer and Harlemite, Souleo of Souleo Enterprises, LLC, decided to curate another spectacular exhibit to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Shange’s groundbreaking choreopoem.

Souleo and the incomparable Ntozake Shange

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The impressive production titled – i found god in myself, is an ambitious endeavor in the form of a multimedia and multigallery exhibition erected in a revered space at The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. 20 pieces have been specially commissioned to evoke the precious words and phrases that will continue to stimulate and inspire a new generation, hungry for guidance and spiritual growth.

You can also partake of all the magnificence at two other locations – The Sol Studio and La Maison d’Art – from Friday, September 19 to Saturday, January 3, 2015.

It is a moving tribute to Shange’s profound message of the strength and perseverance required to rise above life’s challenges, against all odds. Each of the pieces depicts women through the crucial stages of their life.

It is a wonderful opportunity to embrace the themes that accompany us through the maze of our existence. Women of color have a very particular blueprint that is not only symbolically unique, but also forces us to cohesively identify with one another. This is the chance to extend that bond in meaningful way. Take it!