Rest in Peace Queen: Ntozake Shange

Ntozake Shange passed away in her sleep yesterday (October 27,2018) at the age of 70. She was a renowned playwright, poet, and novelist. Aside from the fact that she was born in my hometown Trenton, NJ, I remember Ntozake Shange most for her award-winning play “For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/ When the Rainbow is Enuf.”

For Colored Girls Cover

I love how she wrote in the vernacular that I could so easily read and understand. This made me feel like this book of poems was just for me…the words were so familiar the first time I picked it up to read it. My favorite from this choreopoem is from Lady in Green [excerpt]:

somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

not my poems or a dance i gave up in the street

but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

like kleptomaniac working hard & forgettin while stealin

this is mine/ this aint yr stuff/

now why dont you put me back & let me hang out in my own self

somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

& didnt care enuf to send a note home saying

i waz late for my solo conversation

or two sizes too small for my own tacky skirts

what can anybody do wit somethin of no value on

a open market/ did you getta dime for my things/

hey man/ where are you going wid alla my stuff/

this is a woman’s trip & i need my stuff/


Some additional works include:

Plays: Spell #7 (1979), Whitewash (1994), and Mother Courage and Her Children (1980).

Poetry: Nappy Edges (1978), From Okra to Greens (1984), and Wild Beauty (2017).

Novels: Sassafrass, Cypress & Indigo (1982), Betsey Brown (1985), and Liliane (1994).

And that’s just to name a few! Pick a title and go read it ASAP!

Ntozake Shange3

Rest in Peace Queen, you will be greatly missed.





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