Didn’t we see this coming. Now that Tyler Perry’s big screen adaptation of Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf has hit theaters, confused critics are asking exactly who is ‘For Colored Girls” for—as if the title doesn’t say enuf?

The most disappointing thing of all is that Tyler Perry himself, and cast members Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, and Anika Noni Rose have stated that “For Colored Girls” is for everybody. Newton told ComingSoon.com, “It’s not just for colored girls, it’s not just for colored anybody, it’s for humanity.”

But why can’t “For Colored Girls” be just for colored girls? Isn’t that the point of it all?

I have no doubt—albeit not having been born yet—that when Shange penned her original “For Colored Girls”—belting out jazzy Black feminist verses, and later dancing about the Public Theater stage in 1975—that every syllable of her prose, every pointed foot in her movement was done for colored girls. Now that this Black women’s work has been reappropriated, remixed and re-staged for the 21st century audience—and lest we forget with the critical expectancy to yield millions—it seems that being just for the colored woman is no longer enuf.

It’s the very title in itself that makes people uncomfortable. “For Colored Girls” is too non-inclusive, too exclusive, and too pre—and presently— racial to be accepted as a venerable film in a so-called post-racial world.

We must have been kidding ourselves to think—in a mythical beyond color climate and at a time when the First Lady of the free world is as brown as Lady in White—that a big screen effort would be said to be just for us.

Is it entirely impossible to engage in filmic spectatorship without the optical experience of looking like screen subjects? Or to even remotely identify with their experiences? This is the typical theater-going experience for Black women in America, but it seems White America isn’t so pleased with having Oscar buzzing movies not all about them—no White lead cast member in sight, even the studio itself, 34th Street Films, is Black. Say what you want to say about Perry, but he’s giving Hollywood a colored experience unseen before—he’s a complete shout-caller who doesn’t answer to any folks—colored or non-colored.

It’s saddening that the once chitlin’ circuit crowd pleaser who had no interest in crossing over is using his “most mature work yet”—a work authentically designed for and by Black women—to reach audiences and empathies for which it is unintended. My advice to Perry and the “For Colored Girls” cast: don’t compromise the work of the film—already deemed stellar and powerful by reviews—just to reach the top box office spot.

If there is any confusion as to who “For Colored Girls” is for, let me be so bold to say to White America and Black men, you are welcome to the picture show, but this flick is not about you.

  • Jencendiary

    This film is going to -suck-. I called it first.

  • cds07c

    Actually I saw the film and I liked it..and that last sentence of this article seemed a little selfish. Yes all the characters are black women (which is great) but all people suffer and go through the things that these characters go through. and the whole point of the film is to keep going, even if the rainbow isnt enuff. i dont understand how surviving hard times cant be applicable to people of all races. smh at this entire article

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  • MimiW

    I’m never impressed by anything Perry pens or touches. I performed this play in undergrad and I’m in between minds on whether I want to degrade that memory by watching Perry’s interpretation.

    On the topic of audience, I agree with the author..this one for us! Can’t we have anything for us in this lily, white world?

  • Alexandra

    I don’t see this film as for “Black women” only. I think keeping the original title would’ve done some great justice and lessened all the racial discussions.
    The topics touched in the story can affect anyone. They’re not limited to Black women or anyone else.
    I feel majority Black casts, draw way too much controversy.

  • Boss lady

    I have to agree with cds07c. I understand what the writer is saying though, of course it is based on the experiences of colored women and therefore the target audience is colored women, but pain, life and joy is something we all experience. I don’t think Thandie Newton is trying to short sell it. In my opinion if a non-black person or man can enjoy it, it is a testimony of how good it is. I personally haven’t had the opportunity to read the book but I know White people who have and enjoy it greatly.

  • Gigi Young

    In all honestly, saying this film is supposed to be for “colored girls” rubs me wrong because the trials and tribulations of the ladies in Shange’s work are completely outside of my experience. In fact, though I watch and enjoy Perry’s films, his slice of black (female) life is alien to me as well.

    Does this mean that I’m not a “real” colored girl?

    Doesn’t staking out this film (and the play/poem on which it is based) as the sole province of black women, once again box in the black (female) experience?

  • Fraulein17

    i work at a movie theatre where most of the movie goers are latino. today it was a VERY popular movie with latinos and black people, a sprinkle of white people too.

    so i’m sure people aren’t like “oh colored= for black people only? i’m not gonna watch it” lol

    but it’s true we do need more good quality movies with black females or just black people in general. i was amazed when i was at work one day and saw the entire roster of movies and NOT ONE main or supporting charactor was black or even a minority in general.

  • Ann

    I had never heard of Ntozake Shange before “For Colored Girls” but from reading about this movie and Shange I am much more interested in the original play and monologues than the over the top Hollywood film rendition. Even though the film may not star all different races of women I believe that the issues the characters in the movie and the play are issues that women and men all over the world find themselves in and having to deal with. Having a movie that shows and details a particular group of people’s experiences in life is not racist. Though the title may be somewhat exclusive of women of non-colored races/backgrounds and also of men, I think for the actors/actresses of the movie to say that is for everybody is definitely appropriate. Not all “colored” girls, as commented by Gigi Young, have experienced what the characters in the movie have. People don’t just identify with characters in movies because of the color of their skin, but even more because of the portrayal of their character, the appeal to the audiences ability to empathize, sympathize and understand with the character and to follow the storyline. Just because the movie “is not about you,” doesn’t mean that someone not “colored” won’t feel inspired by the movie or Shange’s writings.

  • Vonna

    I saw the movie tonight and must say I was impressed with Tyler Perry’s take/rendition of the play/poem. I mistakenly thought he would screw it up, but I was moved by it and thought the actresses and actors did some powerful performances. My crowd was definitely 98% black, but I have to piggyback on some other comments and say that while the title eludes to the movies being ‘For Colored Girls”, I think any woman could relate to the some of the experiences the women in the movie went through on some level and hopefully a man watching the movie could gain a better understanding of what “we as women” go through.

  • Terri

    now we complain about white people excluding them but we want to do the same. Figure out what you want and lead by example.

  • S.

    Thank you!

    Actually, as I watched this wonderful film today I had a train of thoughts…. “oh no… not another depressing melodrama about Black women, people will think we all have sappy lives… Wait, this is obviously a movie with deep characters based off of a 30-year old play… Ok, this might be “For Colored Girls” but this is obviously more about the struggle of being a woman. Any women should be able to relate to this!”

    So my attitude changed throughout viewing the movie. I also saw a couple of old White folks (shocking, i know) and a few Asians watching the movie, not to mention other non-Black people who tagged along with their Black friends/spouse. So obviously some ‘enlightened’ people have already gotten the message that this wasn’t just “For Colored Girls”.

    However, I do agree with this bit…

    “Is it entirely impossible to engage in film spectatorship without the optical experience of looking like screen subjects? Or to even remotely identify with their experiences? This is the typical theater-going experience for Black women in America, but it seems White America isn’t so pleased with having Oscar buzzing movies not all about them”

    Many White people are SO whiny when they are not the center of attention. Not only that but they often complain that they don’t like to see “Black movies” because they “can’t relate to them” when most of them don’t even try because they are too prejudice against Black folks.

    The majority of Whites are not as “open-minded” as they would like us to think they are so, for that reason, Tyler Perry’s movies will have to bend and flex to reach that demographic if he wants it.

    I personally am waiting for Perry to do a script focusing on a Black male experience. That would be interesting!

  • yesindeed

    I will say this…We will never live in a color blind world, and to me that is a good thing. I love my ebony skin, kinky hair,dark eyes, full lips & hips. I also admire the features of other races too. Color, shapes, sizes, & cultures..these are all of the elements that make ALL people unique. Imagine how boring it would be if everybody was the same and had the same perspective on problems…I have no doubt that there is a woman out there who is not colored but felt a deep connection w/ the movie. I just think that the title ” for colored girls” is implying that although it is a movie about women in general, black women may have a different perspective on the issues.Example, When my white friend was laid off of our place of employment and her parents refused to help out & things started to get rough, she went and held up a “Just $1 will help “sign on 6th st, she stripped too, and god knows what else. When I was laid off of my place of employment, I went and scrubbed homes & waited tables.Her struggle was no less painful than mine but the difference was I never had a father to beg for help, I was use to coupons, the change jar momma kept on the table,utilities disconnected, doing my own hair & nails.. I knew struggle in a different way than she did. My survival skills were different. So my point is..the problems women have may be universal but how one handles the problem can be unique..”For colored girls” is just a different type of perspective, never meant to exclude other women or make them feel unwelcome to viewing an all black cast movie.

  • http://twitter.com/supaflynfuchsia Fuchsia

    If the movie was for everyone they should have changed the title and part of the script to portray one or two characters to non black. I personally feel that Tyler Perry is using this film as a means to an award and personal acclaim. I’m not fooled by the title.

    There’s nothing wrong with having a movie specifically for women of color but there is no way around the backlash. In one post Mad Men is racist for not having enough black characters and in another we want to have our own movie and want everyone to whole-heartedly accept it. lol …Not gonna happen.

  • shelby

    Ok so I’m a white woman..I saw the film and enjoyed it, The reality is that white people really don’t care about the title being called ” for colored girls.” I know what I’ve been through and in no way shape or form do I compare my problems to a black woman’s issues.. we are not the same.I also, would like to go on the record for saying that white women support each other in movies..you didn’t see us fighting amongst each other when sex in the city (except for hudson) came out or the MANY all white cast movies..never once did we complain about not having any african americans in the movie…you know why? we don’t mind be a little selfish and having a movie just for us without outwardly saying it like I am now..It just didn’t matter..But you guys do! The movie was brilliant & and I enjoyed it..Heres some advice, Stop trying to be equal and be yourself, have your movies, have your directors, have your titles..If white people didn’t like you before this movie I guarantee you they still don’t. So who cares about who the movie is for..just enjoy it. I was also a little shocked to find black people posting an article like this..I could maybe see mostly white website,but black people complaining about black people lol its crazy!

  • http://twitter.com/MahoganySol MahoganySol

    I can understand both perspectives. I agree with the author and some of the previous commentators who said this movie shows the experiences of all women, but it does feel good to have a movie that is focuses on women that look like me. I loved the movie and I loved the play and I love the fact that it is titled “For Colored Girls”. I feel like people who think the title is racist are too sensitive. For years, there have been films with all white casts and they don’t have to call them “for white people” because its clear who these films had in mind for an audience, but now with the presence of Tyler Perry in Hollywood, people are starting to understand the buying power of Black people and its intimidating. I think its also hard for White people to really understand that we are different. I know many white people who talk about how they are color blind and race no longer matters, but that’s a lie. Our race does effect our experiences as women and as men. We are different, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I encourage other races to see this film b/c it’s more about female experience than anything, but you also have to understand the importance of race within this film and in society in a broader sense. I’ll get off my soapbox now and let others speak.

  • Victoria

    To a degree I understand why people are a little upset that when a film is targeted for ‘Colored’ women, it gets so much negativity around it as to why just colored women! HOWEVER, I saw this film last night and was blown away honestly. I, as a black woman who has seen every Tyler Perry film and play, was so proud of him because you can see the hard work and the GROWTH! Furthermore, I was so proud of the honesty in this film. The stories were not watered down for anyone…colored or not. The issues addressed in this film relate to ALL women! This is why so many cast members have been stressing the fact that it is a movie for all of humanity b/c everyone can relate.

    I read a review of the film before going to see it, written by a white critic who saw it in a room filled with white men and he said the tears in everyone’s eyes by the pain displayed was groundbreaking. He was so moved and encouraged everyone to see it. YES, it is told from the viewpoint of the Black Experience in America, but so many ppl dont understand that viewpoint to begin with, so I think everyone should go out and watch it and become aware!!

  • Victoria

    The more I read some of these comments, the more pissed I am becoming!

    Let’s take literature as an example. When you read books like The Color Purple, A Raisin in the Sun, or even the book this film stemmed from, or any other GREAT literary work, you have a setting, characters, a storyline, etc. All based on the author’s perspective and the author’s level of truth in telling the story. I have never heard people be so critical of a book about black people as they are about this one film. You have to be a real immature, and somewhat ignorant person to believe that non-black people cannot relate to something about black people. We are people nonetheless. Therefore, on a very basic level, we experience so much of the same things, just in different ways.

    I get so upset when I hear black women so critical of a film for black women when they have not even watched it. That’s ignorance! I know this film will be #1 in the country after this weekend b/c tickets sold out like crazy! However, to really experience this, I advise people to watch it on their own….not in a theatre filled with hundreds of people. It’s a different experience. I could go on and on, but Im just confused by this article and so many of these comments by black women.

  • sloane

    i agree with some of the other posters, what is wrong with having the cast and the focus of a film be solely about black women and letting other people try to relate to it as it is? why can’t they explain “yes this film is by and for black women, but it has universal themes anyone could relate to.” there is nothing wrong with it, as far as i’m concerned. i mean i love steel magnolias and there is nary a black woman to be found. did that film have to be marketed as “featuring white women only, but has universal appeal?” no, because a movie with white only characters is considered the norm and automatically relateable for anyone. if we can find our truth reflected back to us, or even just sit and enjoy a movie for it’s escapism with all white characters (like sex and city) then white, asian, latino, and any audience can do the same with this film. and btw i aslo love the films “the joy luck club” and “like water for chococlate”. are there any black women in those films? no, but i enjoy them because the themes are universal.

  • sloane

    i’m sorry…but what? you do realize that most media, including tv and films, is created by and for white people and everyone else is just expected to find the universal themes within mainstream media and a way to relate. why can’t others be expected to do that with “for colored girls” film? so yeah, it’s NOT too much to ask that others see the film as it is and whole-heartedly accept it.

  • rachelb

    I was also worried that TP would degrade this monumental work, but I can actually say that he stayed true to the choreopoem and the productions I have seen in the past. I was afraid that he would not do it justice, but then I thought that maybe this film would expose women (and men) who had never heard of Ntozake Shange or her work and maybe they would come to cherish and appreciate her ode to the lives, experiences, creativity and sisterhood of black women… The actresses did a phenomenal job and I think that his film version honored the essence of “For Colored Girls…”

  • http://commentarybyval.blogspot.com/ Val

    “…it seems White America isn’t so pleased with having Oscar buzzing movies not all about them…”

    Oscar buzz? Really? I don’t think anyone but Tyler Perry is thinking this film is Oscar worthy.

    As for this article; Obviously Perry and cast are trying to drum up business.

  • rachelb

    I agree that the black women’s experience can not and should not be placed in a box; there is so much depth and variety to the experiences of black women as a collective that no box can contain. Shange’s work does not speak for the experience of all black women, but that doesn’t make it any less important. For me, the importance of this work is that she actually gave voice to themes and issues that some black women face, especially during a time when black women’s issues and themes were pushed to the end of the line ( civil rights, black power, feminist movements). I think that this film can help open the door to other artists creative expression of the variety of things that represent the many different experiences of black women.

  • rachelb

    The title of this movie “For Colored Girls” is so named because it is an adaptation of a choreopoem by Ntozake Shange entitled “For Colored Girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf”. During the time that it was written, it was a big deal to have such a work by a women of african descent, about the some of the experiences of black women, in the voice of black women characters. And during the present day it is a big deal for a movie to feature a cast of black women, addressing themes that black women face, directed by a black director, and produced by a black production company. No, not every black women has these experiences; there is such a variety and diversity of black women. But even still, for this story to be told, it is giving voice to some black women. Just about every demographic has some song, some movie, some joke,some dance, some activity, some event that speaks to them, that speaks to their collective group. This choreopoem written in the 1970s was something that spoke to black women. We need more films (music, literature, etc) that speak to us. So for me, his adaptation of the film is paying homage to Ntozake Shange and her work; and I am glad that he stayed true to the essence of the choreopoem and the productions of “For Colored Girls…”

  • rachelb

    The title of this movie “For Colored Girls” is so named because it is an adaptation of a choreopoem by Ntozake Shange entitled “For Colored Girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf”. During the time that it was written, it was a big deal to have such a work by a women of african descent, about the some of the experiences of black women, in the voice of black women characters. And during the present day it is a big deal for a movie to feature a cast of black women, addressing themes that black women face, directed by a black director, and produced by a black production company. No, not every black women has these experiences; there is such a variety and diversity of black women. But even still, for this story to be told, it is giving voice to some black women. Just about every demographic has some song, some movie, some joke,some dance, some activity, some event that speaks to them, that speaks to their collective group. This choreopoem written in the 1970s was something that spoke to black women. We need more films (music, literature, etc) that speak to us. So for me, his adaptation of the film is paying homage to Ntozake Shange and her work; and I am glad that he stayed true to the essence of the choreopoem and the productions of “For Colored Girls…”

  • kimmy

    I wouldn’t say this movie is for Black Women only. It is about women of color. When I read the piece in school, I remember there being at least one latina character involved. But the overall point, that what this film is about is something special for us, and not white people to share. I’ve no doubt a white person can relate, watch, and appreciate, but at the end of the day this film was not made with you in mind. It’s not ‘reverse racism’, it’s not selfishness, it’s not about YOU. Have some respect for that.

  • http://www.beautyisdiverse.com Beauty Is Diverse

    I 100 % agree cds07c I just came back from watching the movie and first off it was great. Strong performances from all the actresses casted in the film. And 2nd all of the situations that took place women of all races experience them. I’m black but i’ve never been through what the characters have gone through so for the write to say that it’s only for black women is incorrect because all black women do not have the same life experiences.

  • S.

    @Shelby “we don’t mind be a little selfish”

    … Be honest Shelby, your people are not “a little selfish” they are overwhelmingly selfish. (Not that I completely agree with the article but) your disdain for Black people worrying about being inclusive to everyone is exactly many Whites are racist.

    They don’t worry enough!

    This is a POSITIVE quality of the Black community, not NEGATIVE lol Other than that, I agree with you about Blacks having own movies, directors, titles, etc,. The fact is, if you can group us then we are a community. And if we are a community then we ought to be able to create projects around our specific issues.

    At the end of the day, I highly doubt “For Colored Girls was about raking in money for Perry. We should at least be grateful and respect Perry for being committed to bringing Black women’s issues out of that old dirty chest.

  • cookie

    I’m sorry, but comparing” Mad Men being all white to “For Colored Girls” being all black is insane.

    People of color are expected to find universal themes in ALL WHITE T.V. shows, movies and novels on a regular basis. As a matter fact, white people are pretty much treated like the DEFAULT for human beings in all forms of art and media. Comparing the massive onslaught of all white depictions of womanhood to the few lone black representations is laughable. It’s like comparing Clutch to Cosmo. There’s a reason why black publications exist–because articles and images like the ones you see hear don’t barely exist in the white mainstream. There’s need for more movies, books, magazines, t.v. shows etc. for us and about us. Why should we be any less compelled to see our images reinforced and stories told then white women?

    Race is much more complicated than some people want to realize. When you begin to not only look at the absence of black people in the mainstream, but the quality of the few depictions we have, you’ll see why comparing the “Mad Men” situation to this movie is ludicrous.

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  • jaz

    This website is really starting to disappoint me. Why must yoiu criticize every move Tyler Perry makes? It is a blessing that he was able to breathe life into this classic work and make it available to EVERYONE. For everyon who is not a colored girl, please don’t let this ridiculous article keep you from seeing this excellent movie.

  • Akai (Akai.Santiago@Yahoo)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    S. wrote:

    “…White people are SO whiny when they are not the center of attention…”

    “…most of them don’t even try because they [whites] are too prejudice against Black folks.”

    “…The majority of Whites are not as “open-minded” as they would like us to think they are…”

    “…Be honest Shelby, your people [whites] are not “a little selfish” they are overwhelmingly selfish.”

    “…many Whites are racist.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Do you ever turn off the victim rhetoric and stop pointing the finger at others? Daaag!

    Throughout this blog you’ve made these types of comments so allow me to slightly edit just one of your tired lines and see how you like it:

    “Be honest S., African Americans are not “a little [helpless/stupid/violent (take your pick)]” they are overwhelmingly [helpless/stupid/violent (take your pick)].”

    Your rhetoric is no different than that of a jack-booted skin-head stomping up the street, so can you give this a rest? Whites are hardly the biggest or most urgent threat to you/yours; and, you are not endowed with some miraculous ability to read the minds of 200 million people and make ‘authoritative’ statements as to what a whole group thinks, wants, fears or anything else. Try a little “do unto others” because you know good and well you’d (rightfuly) pitch a hissy fit were an Asian or Caucasian to take it upon themselves to make arrogant ‘knowing’ statements as to what all African Americans do, think, want etc. as if they could read your mind!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Article: “…White America isn’t so pleased with having Oscar buzzing movies not all about them.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Well “white America” didn’t appear to have had a problem with “Oscar buzzing” and winning flicks like Training Day, Monster’s Ball, Dreamgirls, Ray, Precious etc. and none of those movies were “all about them.”

    It’s quite apparent that Perry and the actresses’ desired ‘target audience’ for the film is very different from that of the writer, but I think I got it now. …Yours, yours, yours…this movie is about and for you only. And…I’m perplexed as to why is it often so hard for some to write an article without throwing a jab – specifically at a group they seem to want something from. On the one hand there is criticism of “white America” yet, on the other hand, there is sort of a plea for white America to go see this film, support it, add revenue to it’s earnings and place it on the Oscar track!

  • Ari

    I can see the authors point, but I believe this film is both for black women as well as being for non-black women.
    When I read “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf”, I always thought the title had double meaning. On one hand it was about black women telling their stories and providing a narrative on what it was like to be a black woman in 20th century America dealing with modern issues. Before this play was published and performed in 1975 it was not common to hear stories about modern black femininity and the issues we deal with. Today modern America can say “well of course black women deal with issues like rape, broken hearts and self esteem just like everyone else”, but at that time in history our stories were not being told. In that respect this play and film are for black women. To get our stories out there and recognized. However, I also thought “For Colored Girls” referred to women in general relating to a character or a few characters represented by a particular color. Lady in Red was always my favorite and as I’ve gotten older I find that I relate to each Lady in a different way. Lady in Brown, Lady in Purple, Lady in Orange, Lady in Green, Lady in Blue, Lady in Red and Lady in Yellow are for all women. I have some Asian and Latina friends that can recite lines from this play off the top of their heads because they loved it so much. I mean lines like ” i found god in myself and i loved her / i loved her fiercely” are beloved by women all over. Just look at the online book club message boards and you will see how white, Latin, Asian and black women have all come to love and cherish this book. The widespread love of this book speaks to the brilliance of Ntozake Shange and it would be unfair to limit it as for “black women only”. This book is far too complicated for that.

    Now, as for this film being only for black women, again I disagree.
    Usually, 85%-90% of films and television shows that are created and released by Hollywood consist of majority white actors with white actors in lead roles. Now, for me as a black woman, I am still entertained by many of these shows and films (Mad Men and Sex and the City are just a few examples). I don’t find them extremely unrelatable because I don’t see people of my race portrayed. The story lines are interesting and fun to watch. Overall I am entertained and that is the point.
    However, I do believe there needs to be more diversity on television and in film. It is important in a racially diverse country like America, to reflect racial diversity in the media as well. In an ideal world, for me, at least 65%-75% of films and television shows would have black/Latino/Asian/Native American actors in lead roles with a racially diverse cast. However, that is not the reality of Hollywood, Like I said before 85%-90% of all films consist of white leads and majority white actors. Most of the time we see universally relatable story-lines portrayed through the eyes of white people, which makes me so grateful for films like “For Colored Girls”. Just like other Hollywood films the story line and plot are relatable for women of all races and backgrounds, but it is portrayed through the eyes and experiences of black women. I think this is progress and though this film may not be perfect it is wonderful to see a plethora of black women in lead roles as complex and multi-dimensional characters that everyone can relate to, instead of the stereotypical black female characters we are used to seeing (the sassy sidekick, the “hood girl”, the “big mama”, black male comedians portraying us). I will support this film and encourage women of all races to go out and see it. Discover what color you see in yourselves.

  • binks

    Whoever thinks this film is racist or bias needs to go play in rush hour traffic, seriously. Yes, everybody can relate to these experience to some degree of what these women have been through so it isn’t exclusive, however the viewpoint is just told from a black woman’s perspective which as hard to believe hasn’t been done on TV and film that much, if not at all except for the stereotypical woe is me stuff. Like a couple of comments have hinted on, even though we love to believe it is a post racial society it isn’t and to some degree our race, culture and personal background do play a role in how we deal with trials and tribulations and how we over come them because different stigma is attached to different people, if you think it isn’t you have on rose colored glasses. I can think of a dozen movies with non black female leads that tells a story of trials and tribulations from their point of view and lifestyle and I’ am not angry with it and still watch it because it is interesting. I think people are just uncomfortable with the fact that it is touchy, it does make you think, and sympathize (not trying to give the movie away) with the women who just happen to be black so now those uncomfortable people have to correlate their race with the other subject matters. But let me guess, if this was the movie Precious all over again most people wouldn’t care that black actors played these part instead of white or whatever…smh

  • Ashlizzle

    You touched on every key point in this article in which other reviewers seemed to have shunned. The only issue I have with this review is, this movie should NOT just be for Colored Girls. While we seldom have the right to claim any major motion films to ourselves, our issues are so universal, that everyone should “own” this movie b/c black women are affected on so many levels by so many aspects of society. Granted, I don’t intend on this movie being a complete portrayal of the black woman’s plight in American, but the knowledge an audience can gain, white, black, brown, red, purple, blue and/or green, is more than they would have received walking away from the likes of other motion pictures (typically geared toward white audiences, starring all-white casts). Would we have been as gracious in accepting this movie if it had been done by the like of James Cameron or Steven Spielberg? I don’t think so. Tyler Perry is opening doors for black actors and actresses as well as subject matters that seemed to have been swept under a rug since the 60′s and 70′s. Everybody has an opinion and I respect that, but I think the main thing wrong with black woman is that we think we own everything. Like when we see a black guy with a white girl, we are offended as if that black man belonged to our race and should not be mingling with that white girl. It is beautiful how we can look back to works like For Colored Girls…. and still have so much open discussion. This is healthy! I am loving it! Let’s air it out yall!

  • http://nesheaholic.com LaNeshe

    I think it is definitely for ALL women.

  • http://peanutbutterressiecup.blogspot.com Theresa C.

    The title, “For Colored Girls” as Ari explained is for the colors they represent in the book and movie (red, yellow, green, and so forth), not their race. People just want to create some sort of controversy, make an issue just for GP. The women who play these roles, are playing them and us at some point in our lives, their colors are ours too, at some point in our growing up and becoming women. Their struggles and issues, experiences, we all as women, at some point in our lives can relate too. I hope that people understand what this film is all about.

  • racistmovie

    I can’t believe all of the people who support this racist movie! Black women have proven that they ARE the most racist!

    Disgusting!

  • sloane

    @s- this a braindead tactic by braindead trash who is speaking on behalf of the kkk, neo nazi’s, and white trash racists everywhere because in her little mind, she’s fighting biased rhetoric on your behalf towards white people, with racist rhetoric straight from the grand wizard of the klan to “show you how it feels” when bias is used against you.

    this is absurd for a plethora of reasons:
    1.white people hardly need anyone to defend them, because they run this f***ing country, and are considered to be at the top of the racial hierachy created by their ancestors.
    2.this is a website for women of color, with a strong emphasis on black women, shouldn’t we (INCLUDING THE AUTHOR AND COMMENTERS) be able to be forthcoming and relay our experiences with racism without having to deal with some fool’s twisted idea of appropriate censure for black people who in her estimation complain about racism too much and are just a bunch of victims? who is so hateful and out of touch to the point that she’s actually speaking the way a white racist would in an effort to curtail us from speaking our true thoughts?
    3. im sure many white racists would simultaneously thank her for speaking so “eloquently” on their behalf, and then proceed to [kill her, beat her, rape her, or "snigger" (take your pick)] because she’s not even white and they see her as subhuman.

  • jay-me

    Actually it’s not racist COLOURED means; latinos,asians,indians,blacks,mixed race.
    perhaps it’s just the fact that these beautiful african american women are showin their true potiencal thats getting to some of these causains , white isn’t the only colour in the world u kno.

  • cds07c

    Which reminds me..last year my neighbor’s husband shot and killed their 2 kids and then himself when his wife was in the shower. and on Oprah a lady was talking about how she contracted HIV from her husband who was on the down low…both of these women were white. They can get more from this film then I can…

  • S.

    Kudos!

    Wow, love your analysis on the meaning of the title! I agree completely!

  • isolde

    S., the absolute, last person you need to explain yourself to in discussions like these is a known racist and homophobe who has exposed herself so many times, that she could be tried for public lewdness. As a black woman (I’m assuming that you’re black), you are twice marginalized by default. That’s not even up for debate. I’m not sure how politically aware Shelby is, but if a man having a discussion with her alleged that she was being “hysterical,” she might pick up how sexist that is. Just like “hysterical” has sexist undertones, saying that you’re playing the victim or are somehow angry are common tactics used to trivialize your concerns, albeit tactics with racial undertones. If you think that it’s some type of coincidence that the person calling you out on your “victim rhetoric” is not black, rest assured, it’s not. Many beneficiaries of white privilege get defensive when their privilege is under attack. No doubt, the race troll in residence on this site, equates your “victim rhetoric” with being over-emotional and irrational, but here’s the rub, you don’t have the privilege of being emotionally detached from this subject because you live it. And because you live it, YOU are the authority, not some mentally unstable instigator who struggles with impulse control.

  • Jencendiary

    Don’t feed the troll, Jay-me. Pearls before swine game proper. . .

  • http://[email protected] rebekah

    I think Clutch is saying that it can be for other women but SO WHAT if it is just for black women. Are we that brain washed to believe that we don’t deserve one film solely just for us. We are trying so hard to not seem “racist” that we forget no one actually cares. SO WHAT if Tyler Perry casted an all black crew that shifts toward black women more then any other race. SO WHAT. You never see anything dedicated to black women (black people for that matter) lets celebrate us guilt free because we don’t have to answer to no one. I don’t see white people apologizing or justifying their all white world exclusively made for them. No! I don’t see them answering to us so why do we do it? We care too much about how we are seen we forget that we are going to be judge no matter what we do. So why even bother to appease to the races of people who aren’t for us to begin with.

  • http://www.christielover.blogspot.com rebekah

    I think Clutch is saying that it can be for other women but SO WHAT if it is just for black women. Are we that brain washed to believe that we don’t deserve one film solely just for us. We are trying so hard to not seem “racist” that we forget no one actually cares. SO WHAT if Tyler Perry casted an all black crew that shifts toward black women more then any other race. SO WHAT. You never see anything dedicated to black women (black people for that matter) lets celebrate us guilt free because we don’t have to answer to no one. I don’t see white people apologizing or justifying their all white world exclusively made for them. No! I don’t see them answering to us so why do we do it? We care too much about how we are seen we forget that we are going to be judge no matter what we do. So why even bother to appease to the races of people who aren’t for us to begin with.

  • Piper Davenport

    It’s not a racist movie. Just because it features black women in the title means that one must look beyond the image and see the universal themes that are being showcased.

  • Clnmike

    I feel where the author is coming from. Its rare that you see anything in the media focused solely on black women that is not pissing on them that you welcome those images that not only show a different side but are created, and defined by black women and speaks directly to them. That has to be something special in a world that constantly is telling you who you are while making you an outsider in the conversation. I can see why someone would want to defend that baby with all their might. But at the same time an open house is open to critique, if everyone is invited to see it then they have the right to critique it from their own experience and from the perspective of who they are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Momauwi-Michelle-Woods/100000257875194 Momauwi Michelle Woods

    Speak the truth and let it be heard. It is what it is, and I for one will not pretend like I cant see. Its time to act!! Get mad about this type of thing and make changes within our personal selves that compliments our mission on this life, which is to be QUEENS. TOO emotional, drama queens, not at all, just passionate! So get all that nonsense out your conscious about having to be politically correct when you are trying to get the message across that you love Black Women, Its not shame in that game.http://lovemomauwi.blogspot.com/2010/10/fake-terror-black-woman.html?spref=fb

  • Canden Webb

    Sure I can agree that every woman can relate to the movie, colored or not, however the writer of this article makes a good point, it’s ok that this film is about colored girls only. I mean hello! A lot of the issues in the movie were (not isolated to, but) pretty common to the African American community ie, the down low brother, HIV, ect. I mean there is a line in the play that says, “I couldn’t stand being colored and a woman at the same time”. This could be taken figuratively but let’s not ignore the literal and obvious points of the movie. Culturally it is full of us- Colored women, from the dialogue to the references; it’s an ode to us. Empowerment for us. Our pain. Yes, it’s about the woman but most importantly, it’s about the colored woman, black, latina-every variation of us, and that’s ok.

    On the flip side, it’s expected that the movie will be marketed to everyone, I mean it is still Hollywood so that’s no big surprise. We don’t go out protesting when they say a movie like Scheindlier’s List is for everyone. It is. You want others to see it because it helps to stop perpetuating hate. These are two separate things, it is for us because it’s our struggle, our pain, our expression, our art. It is for them to for sheer humanistic reasons, so they have an understanding and a place to relate. The two do not have to be at odds with one another.

  • isolde

    Well put, Canden Webb

    You know, at first, I couldn’t get down with this article. I initially thought, “Well Geneva, what exactly do you want Thandie to say?” She’s probably being paid a stump fee to promote the movie, so, it’s her job to make the film appeal to as broad of an audience as possible. Plus, I have yet to read an article that didn’t mention Shange’s choreopoem in the same breath as the film, so by now, everyone should know that the film’s title is a condensed version of the book, not some ploy to alienate white America. This is honestly the first time I’m hearing of this controversy. Plus, let keep it real, the movie could’ve been called “For White People,” but as long as it had that leading cast of black actresses, then the film would have been “othered” regardless. So, what’s the point of all of this? But after reading the comments on this thread, I get it now. I understand exactly what Geneva was saying and why this article was necessary.

  • King Jason

    For Colored Purple girls waiting to exhale when Brewster place is enough is not just for Black women, the world hates Black men so come one! Join in :)

  • TR

    I agree there are very few feature films with majority black casts or black headliners. Ironically, people love to dump on Tyler Perry. If it were not for him many of the black actors we do see would be without work. It is funny how so many people ranted about him taking on this project. But how many of those Latinos and whites you saw would have read the book? Probably none. However, thanks to Tyler the story is being told to an entirely new audience. Honestly, the fact so many people are so protective of this work is a turn off. When will we black people realize we don’t have a monopoly on pain and suffering?

    I doubt if I will see the movie. I just have no interest. However, I am glad to see the women in the movie get a chance to shine. They are talented and they deserve it. It would be good if people got off Tyler’s back. I didn’t see any other film makers rushing to get this made.

  • Jencendiary

    If you (as a man) are tired of the stories of women being raped, abused & otherwise victimized by both men and institutions that should protect them, then you need to encourage the men around you to do the bare minimum and not hurt women AND go to the voting booth to change the systems that perpetrate that institutional discrimination.

  • Jencendiary

    Amusingly enough, someone on my friends list on another social network posted this. If you’re tired of women talking about sexual assault, maybe you should spread it around to your man friends.

    http://benpobjie.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-not-to-rape-people-handy-guide-for.html

    “How Not To Rape People: A Handy Guide For Modern Men And Footballers”

  • King Jason

    I would have supported this article if not the movie but for that last snippy ‘not for Black men’ comment, it might be true but, I think the Black male image is very much our damn business. That said, Black folks need to stop turning themselves inside out for white folks. White folks can be crazy, they have 900 channels dedicated to them and complain about BET and want to know where their WET. They can be crazy and stupid. Is it for Black women? Of course, but movie speak about “universality” is to separate other folks from their money so they can make more movies for their base audience.

  • kimora

    I tend to like this author’s posts here on Clutch.. but I’m giving you a serious side-eye for this Geneva Thomas.

    “But why can’t “For Colored Girls” be just for colored girls? Isn’t that the point of it all?..”

    I thought the film’s purpose was to bring awareness to women’s issues.. not just colored women’s issues.

  • kimora

    @king jason – you need to relax.. if you don’t fit the description of the men portrayed, then you shouldn’t be offended. the scenes from FCG are are REAL.. women can relate to at least one of the characters. There was an uplifting ending for them despite all the BS they went thru. Seriously, we have to encourage our men not to be those guys. There are a lot of black men who FIT the descriptions of these men. Stop being desensitive to issues that are killing and breaking down the black community. The truth is coming to light.

  • Mia

    I went, I saw and I felt this movie as I have never felt one before. .. I think it was a great movie and why must there be controversy because of what folks interpret. Many movies are geared to one or another sect of people, whats wrong with colored girls, I think we rock. The movie speaks for itself, It did come in 3rd at the box office.Why do we fear facing things that truly happen in our communities, I simply see it as a heads up. Thanks Mr. Perry for having the foresight to put it on screen..

  • Hakikah

    This film/book is for anyone who wants to learn about being a woman from different perspectives/voices. If it resonates for you, its for you.

  • Ahmad

    Are we being for real here? I may have my own reservations about the evolution of the Tyler Perry Machine and the constant exploitation of black trauma being mined for gold onscreen, but I have to give this brutha his due. He is bringing a landmark BLACK play to the big screen. It is time for folks to check out an all black cast that is NOT A COMEDY, and NOT a love story with a hip soundtrack. Welcome to PRE-racial America (as one of y’all said), post feminist (womanist?) America. I clap because it’s a first step to opening eyes.i wish there were more directors with the leverage of a Tyler Perry or people with the money to back black film.

  • Brandi

    This movie is for all women…not just “colored” women meaning “black women” if you did your research you would realize that the “colors” of the original book and play are those like yellow, red, blue, green…etc. Each a story of her own. Every woman has a color or two, three, even more. We are all unique and colorful in our own ways. If you saw this movie, you did a very poor job of paying attention to it…leave home your to-do lists and everday stress and LISTEN to what they are saying. It is an amazing movie, it is MORE than just a movie, it is about women, and I can gurantee you will find yourself in at least one of those women, but most likely, a little bit of all of them.

    This movie needs to get out there and touch as many women as possible. So get past the title, put the race card away, THINK outside the BOX and focus on the fact that this movie is for WOMEN, all of us. And it is telling us amazing things we need to be listening to…

  • Pingback: “For Colored Women” « Christine Chung

  • nicole

    do younot know how to spell enough

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