Home > Entertainment, Lifestyle > “Where there is woman, there is magic.” Ntozake Shange at Brooklyn Museum

“Where there is woman, there is magic.” Ntozake Shange at Brooklyn Museum

Monique John

Blogger Monique John poses with Micaela Angela Davis, Ntozake Shange's interviewer.

Walking in the biting cold on the evening of Feb. 10, I sped down the Eastern Parkway and across the expansive courtyard entrance to the Brooklyn Museum’s Thursday @ 7 series, on my way to see Ntozake Shange, the award-winning playwright and author of the choreopoem, For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf. She spoke about her writings and read from her latest work, Some Sing, Some Cry.

Shange’s For Colored Girls is a profound piece of literature, as its collection of monologues describing black women’s experiences of abortion, domestic violence, relationships, and self-love has inspired countless figures in the theatre world, and touched the minds and hearts of generations of black women since it was written in 1975. I was curious to meet the woman who so beautifully intertwined pain and hope for the future of colored girls in America and eluded the spotlight when the film version of her play created a media craze last fall.

As she entered the stage, I could see why her interviewer, Michaela Angela Davis, a renowned cultural critic and writer, had dubbed Shange “the priestess of the feminist movement.” Her dress had swirls of colors like tangerine, mustard, and olive dragged with a small trail across the floor and her emerald green eye shadow glimmered across her amber-colored skin. Each piece of jewelry she wore looked like it came from a different part of the world. As Shange began to speak, I was shocked by the drawl in her voice; I later learned that her voice became deep and slow after she suffered a series of strokes since 2004. But Shange soon told the crowd that she doesn’t let her sickness keep her from her work, and her warmth and energy still filled the hall.

The dialogue between Shange and Davis was rich and insightful. They started by discussing Some Sing, Some Cry, a book Shange wrote with her sister, Ifa Bayeza, that chronicles the lives of seven generations of black women connected to one another by music. In addition to talking about Shange’s literary works, she and Davis discussed urgent issues for black women today in unemployment, the need for blacks to partake in the feminist movement, and their thoughts on the political protests in Egypt. Their conversation was one that should have been heard by more than the ninety people sitting in the hall of the museum, as it was a frank exchange of ideas on how black women can improve themselves and their status in society.

Interested in checking out the Brooklyn Museum’s Thursdays @ 7 series yourself? Go to next month’s meeting; Lorna Simpson, artist and photographer, will be talking about her latest book, Gathered, and the history of women’s strive for beauty and desirability in the media with Deborah “Deb” Willis of the Tisch School at New York University. Find out more at: http://www.brooklynmuseum.org/

Categories: Entertainment, Lifestyle
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