By Guest Contributor Renina Jarmon, originally published at New Model Minority
In March, Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote a blog post titled, “The Debatable Legacy of For Colored Girls.” He writes,
“I haven’t read it in years, but even as a younger person I remember thinking it was somewhat over the top and heavy-handed. Hence when I heard that Perry was involved my thoughts were more along the lines of “Of course” or “Perfect.” I could be off on this and I’d like to hear some discussion around this.”
Nearly four years ago, I shouted out Ta-Nehisi Coates after reading an article of his in O magazine on his process of being a Black dad. I stated explicitly that publishers needed to give him a book deal. He responded to me a year later, and arranged to send me a galley of Beautiful Struggle, which I then reviewed on this blog. So i say this knowing that we have some limited history and I want to acknowledge that.
I have found Ta-Nehisi’s Black gender politics to be lacking on his blog and in some ways the questioning of whether or not For Colored Girls is classic symbolizes some of what troubles me about his Black gender politics.
by Latoya Peterson
Bringing up Tyler Perry tends to complicate conversations. He is a polarizing figure, represented by his work, an entrepreneur who provides work for black actors often passed over by the Hollywood machine, yet who trades in what some would call limiting representations of blackness and/or stereotypes. He is often touted as proof that blacks can achieve success outside of the mainstream, and yet speaking with those who have worked for him in below the line positions casts doubt that Perry is dedicated to anything outside of making (and keeping) money.
Still, as Tyler Perry keeps making headlines, we continue to wade through these conversations, which involve his work but are really conversations about race, class, and gender.
A couple of weeks ago, while guesting over at Jezebel, I was asked to write a piece on Tyler Perry being tapped to write, direct, and produce a film based on Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow is Enuf.”
I was immediately skeptical.
by Guest Contributor Melissa Silverstein, originally published at Women and Hollywood
Lionsgate Studios, which has been in the very lucrative Tyler Perry business for several years now, is clearly on track to take up more of the slack in producing and distributing entertainment for the underserved African American market. They bought Push (now renamed Precious) out of Sundance with Perry and Oprah, and now has acquired the film rights for Ntozake Shange’s play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf.
The play was supposed to have been revived recently on Broadway with India.Arie but financing fell through. The play initially opened off Broadway in 1974, then moved to Broadway and was nominated for a best play Tony in 1977. A TV movie was made of the play in 1982.
Lionsgate “touted its ‘leadership role in producing and distributing a diverse roster of motion pictures about black characters.’” when announcing the film.
From what I can tell this is all about Tyler exerting some power. For Colored Girls will be directed by music video director Nzingha Stewart who adapted the screenplay. She has an affiliation with Perry having directed The Marriage Counselor which is a part of the “Tyler Perry Collection.”
It’s pretty interesting that the last indie studio is being this formal, deliberate and public about it’s strategy. Will it be a success? And can it maybe influence someone to think about women this way?
Lionsgate acquires ‘Suicide’ (Variety)