Poetry is my second language. Prior to moving to New York, I had the pleasure of performing spoken word at Fuzzy Wednesdays, an open mic night in my hometown in Virginia. I was living my own personal version of Love Jones, all while trying to get my hands on anything written by my poetic sheroes. My introduction to Ntozake Shange was met with mild hesitation. I had heard nothing but praise for Colored Girls; however, seeing the word “suicide” in the title was quite daunting. My sheroes didn’t use words like suicide! They all would surely side with Chris Rock’s comedic satire: “If you haven’t contemplated murder, you ain’t been in love!” But, challenging myself, I began reading the tales of the rainbow and officially bowed down to Shange’s genius.
Once I heard word of Tyler Perry heading up to Harlem this past summer to shoot the exterior scenes for the film adaptation of For Colored Girls, I knew it would be a must-see flick. The movie is in theaters tomorrow, but I had a chance to get an advanced sneak peek a few weeks back. Just a few seats away was Sherri Shepherd of The View!
I was fully engrossed in the emotional commotion onscreen and the shameless sobs coming from Sherri. I wish I could remember all of the rhymes that pointed out pearls of wisdom wrapped in poetry. I do remember finally allowing my tears to fall freely while listening to Loretta Devine recite the line, “After you put my heart in the bottom of your shoe, you just walked back to where you hurt…and I didn’t have nothing.” I have been there and don’t plan on going back!
The real place to be was at the Lehmann Maupin Gallery for Tim Palen’s Living Portraits Exhibit. Janet Jackson played hostess with other ladies in the building including Kimberly Elise, Kerry Washington, Anika Noni Rose, Loretta Devine and Thandie Newton. I stood in awe surrounded by “superstars” that simply gathered as a newfound family, openly welcoming newcomers such as myself.
The conversations continued the next day during the press conference. You couldn’t help but feel the pride Tyler Perry held for the actors. Whether they played victim or villain, the reward was a red carpet premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre and a party at the Plaza! Now, there ain’t no party like a Tyler Perry party — if you don’t believe me, feel free to ask Chris Tucker, Sugar Shane Mosley, Niecy Nash, Estelle, Macy Gray or any of the countless celebs who were in the building.
All of the mixing, mingling, and media duties meshed together in a brilliant blur that left me with an even clearer picture of my future. One woman’s decision to write exquisite words that eventually became For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf is still inspiring girls of color over 30 years later. I now see that dreams may be lived out loud and revered in vivid multicolor. The sky is the limit and my rainbow will be seen in all its splendor.
For Colored Girls is in theatres tomorrow.