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.
R.I.P. Ntozake Shange (#ForColoredGirls) #YouAreBroadwayBlack you will forever be remembered and eternally etched in our minds as The Lady in Orange, a prolific poet, an amazing playwright, and the Black feminist we all aspire to be. Well done. ✊🏽❤️ #broadwayblack pic.twitter.com/b24MEE23WE
— Broadway Black (@BroadwayBlack) October 27, 2018
Others praised her intellect
I just started crying when I read this. A magnificent woman. A woman with a talent that overflowed with insight and such beautiful wisdom. Such incredible emotional intellect. Continue your dance with the ancestors indeed.
— gasser_terry (@terry_gasser) October 28, 2018
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