Ntozake Shange author of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow Is Enuf passed away peacefully in her sleep. Her choreopoem of 20 separate poems choreographed to music was the 2nd broadway show by a Black woman. Shange who had attempted suicide on four occasions penned the work based on her experience. Tyler Perry’s movie of same title. The film grossed $30M worldwide and is widely considered as his best film.

According to Wikipedia Xhosa, Ntozake means “she who has her own things” (literally “things that belong to her”) and Shange means “he/she who walks/lives with lions” (meaning “the lion’s pride” in Zulu).

Many have expressed how much they valued her work and how it inspired them.

Others praised her intellect

Some interesting tidbits from Ms.Blog Magazine

Shange optioned the film rights to Perry, but she has spoken candidly about forbidding him from having Madea do a cameo as a “colored girl.” Perry’s churchified high camp is no match for a poet like Shange who can pen the line: “& if jesus cdnt play a horn like [archie] shepp/ waznt no need for colored folks to bear no cross at all.” Amen.

Poet Ishmael Reed observes: “No contemporary writer has Ms. Shange’s uncanny gift for immersing herself within the situations and points-of-view of so many different types of women.” Like Lucille Clifton, Gwendolyn Brooks and Toni Cade Bambara–to name a few writers no longer here–Shange cared to feed us when we were starved for stories about women of color.

Essence Magazine perhaps said it best

Born Paulette Williams in Trenton, New Jersey, but known to friends and family as just ‘Zake,’ Shange personified Black Girl Magic, even before the term was born. She was regal. When you were in her presence, not only did she make you feel like you were on the top of the world, but you knew you were in the presence of literary royalty.

Her work was not only genius


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