Skip to content

First Look: For Colored Girls…

September 15, 2010

While I’m not one of the millions who runs out every time a Tyler Perry film is released (in fact I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of his films on purpose), I know I will find myself dropping cashmoney in the theater to see For Colored Girls, if I can wade through all the criticism both legitimate and somewhat fatuous – uh, the shortened name is not a Rosa Parks moment, folks. And I’m not sure why that’s even meaningful discourse. Unless it’s the chow chow of folks whose racial experience isn’t reflected in the film and they don’t want to feel left out or something. The full title: For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf is just not going to fit on a marquee or poster. C’mon, people, act like you got some goddamn sense. Besides, the source material is powerful regardless of what it’s called.

The play – For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf – was written by Ntozake Shange. I’m eager to see how this very “play-ish” play will be adapted for screen and how Perry’s pull this off so not to have a whole bunch of sistas pissed at him. I had my reservations. FCGWHCSWTIS is some serious, special stuffs, and Perry’s talents are usually best served when he’s giving the buppies and educated, professional, middle class black folks comedic versions of themselves that ring both true and false. I like how everyone in his movies – at least the females – have nice jobs. Well except Madea, whose job it seems is to get into everyone’s business. I hope you’re not sitting up here waiting for some kind of analysis of his damn movies. You better get the fuck up on out of here with that foolishness and complain someone who cares.

And the blactresses. I thought I’d died and gone to an Ebony Fashion Fair Roadshow! The cast includes:

Anika Noni Rose!

Loretta Devine!

Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty!

Kerry Washington!

Kimberly Elise, who can act circles around 99% of these cheesy, talentless, interchangeable ingénues that mainstream Hollywood keeps subjecting film audiences to.

Thandie Newton!

Phylicia Rashād!

I am so excited about this. Though somewhat stunned Angela Bassett is not in the film! Here’s the trailer. What do you think?

No offense, Janet, but La Mommie was a little better in the role you’re playing! Watching the trailer brought me back to Germany and watching my mom rehearse scenes. She played, “The Lady in Red” and had the best monologue of the entire play; (DON’T READ IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS) “a Nite with Beau Willie Brown”. Though based on the top pic, I don’t think Janet is doing that monologue. It looks like Kimberly Elise might be and if so, she’s gonna shut. it. down.

The use of names rather than colors – duh, that’s what the “colored” part of the title alludes to – is kind of odd. I’m guessing based on the name “Tangie”, Thandie Newton is playing “The Lady in Orange” or something. I’m just speculating, since IMDB didn’t really help me sort it out. I hesitate to throw my weight behind it entirely until I actually see the film – hopefully in a nice urban theater to avoid long, doleful glances of white folks who think I might need to “process” afterwards – but the trailer looks good and I’m feeling a lot more hopeful than I did when it was first announced that Perry was sniffing around the project.

For Colored Girls… drops November 5th!

19 Comments leave one →
  1. hsofia permalink
    September 15, 2010 2:18 am

    Oh sweat, this looks good! But I’ve noticed that trailers for Perry’s movies tend to be compelling. I think because he deals with such big themes. I will definitely be checking it out in the theaters.

    I always put down Kimberly Elise as the actor I think would play me in a movie.

    I hope this movie is really really good so that I’ll have another reason to be pissed at the Oscars next year when it’s ignored.

  2. hsofia permalink
    September 15, 2010 2:22 am

    Seeing this trailer I thought, “Who’s NOT in this movie?” But then I got to thinking and realized there are a lot of well-known black actresses not in this movie. And that made me feel good. Because there are more than I realized.

  3. Citizen Taqueau permalink
    September 15, 2010 2:27 am

    “I found God in myself and I loved Her fiercely” was the first line of poetry that ever made me sing and cry at the same time, although I’d been singing and writing since I was a very small child.

    My feelings toward this work of art are protective in a way I don’t feel towards most works. I hope this goes well. The casting is intriguing and I will go see the movie, but I do feel apprehensive.

  4. September 15, 2010 2:43 am

    @hsofia – I am surprised at a number of blactresses I expected to be shoo-ins for roles:

    April Grace – a long shot, but still.

    Jenifer Lewis – particularly since she and the aforementioned Bassett have worked on other Perry projects. that’s a real head scratcher.

    Viola Davis, Taraji p. Henson, Nia Long, Lela Rochon (what happened to her???), Lynn Whitfield and so forth. Perhaps in Lela’s case she’s gearing up to reunite with Whitney, Loretta and Angela for the sequel to Waiting to Exhale – Getting to Happy!

    @Citizen Taqueau – I am there with you. Seeing my mom in a performance of the play really cemented the desire to write. Seeing what words on a page could do! I hold this very close to my heart. It’s one of the few stories of ours that nobody can take from us, well, except Perry, who better not fuck this up.

  5. September 15, 2010 2:45 am

    @Citizen Taqueau – can you say more about the casting. I think we might be on the same wavelength, though bound by some politeness. When I say, “intriguing” usually I mean, “WTF?” I’m feeling a bit of WTF on Thandie (who I love love love) and oddly enough, Kerry Washington, who I also love. I’m reserving judgement on Janet because she’s shown promise in a few things (nothing recent, of course) and the others are fabulous. Particularly, Miss Elise, who is untouchable!

  6. September 15, 2010 10:30 am

    I’ve not seen the play, but I’ve read it, and I remember how much “latent rapists” affected me. This seems like an incredibly tricky project for Perry, because everyone I know who’s experienced the play in some form or another has some serious emotions and feelings tied up in it.

  7. September 15, 2010 10:37 am

    omg, I’m so glad Kimberly Elise is in this! I was worried Taraji P. Henson had driven her out of town taking up parts. Viola was probably too busy shooting television, she was on United States of Tara for half a season, I think.

  8. rainebeaux permalink
    September 15, 2010 10:46 am

    Snarkys, there are ALREADY a bunch of black women (let’s just say the population of 19 *mid-size* states and six European countries’ worth for illustrative purposes) pissed off that TP laid his hands on this project in the first place….I’m with you, though: he’d betta not! fuck *ahem, pardon mah french* this up. Looks kinda promising, though. yes, and Kimberly Elise stays shutting it down doesn’t she? 😀

    Re: Lela Rochon–maaaan, I’ve been asking myself this all month! eff Carmen Sandiego, indeed…for the love of Maude, where IS Lela (and Lynn, for that matter)?!

  9. September 15, 2010 12:00 pm

    Clearly this is Perry’s most ambitious attempt yet, and I have a feeling, just based on the cast, he’s going to be rewarded for it. I will definitely catch this opening weekend and maybe this will be up for some Oscars next February…

  10. Citizen Taqueau permalink
    September 15, 2010 9:22 pm

    @Snarky’s Machine, polite, ehhhh I guess I am more curious than anything so far about what these actresses will do and how they will be directed.

    I think it’s a great cast but I was a little “Um?” about Miss Jackson although I love her! I dunno about Kerry Washington either. Why is Thandie in particular making you go “Um?”

    I’m really curious as to what is going on with Angela Bassett. From what I can gather from her bio, she’s fairly private and she did become a mom again 4 years ago, so perhaps she’s mostly concentrating on her family. I really wish she were in more movies, because she’s amazingly talented, totally gorgeous, and versatile.

    How awesome that your mom was in a production of Shange’s amazing play. I have to admit I have only read it and never seen it performed, but the words alone blow me away. I am sad to have missed the recent production in DC, since I am from there and I visit fairly often.

    FCG… was my first experience of writing that undisputably spoke to the experience of WOMEN, without anyone calling it small or apologizing for it. With the making of this movie, I am glad that these words will come alive off the page for millions of people, and I hope it’s done as well as the material deserves.

    Anyway, on another topic, the decision to name the characters. It’s just a wild guess, but maybe this indicates that there will be more of an attempt at framing the interactions in some more filmable story environment, and make it more “accessible” than some might think a performance of dramatic poetry and movement. I guess we’ll find out! Yay!

  11. September 15, 2010 9:44 pm

    Thandie, who is wonderful, seems like a concession made by the filmmakers to the studios/money people.

  12. Citizen Taqueau permalink
    September 15, 2010 10:02 pm


    I thought Janet Jackson was kind of out of left field, personally, but looking at IMDB I am guessing that Tyler Perry likes working with her.

  13. September 16, 2010 9:36 am

    wow, that had me tearing up toward the end. very much looking forward to it.

  14. hsofia permalink
    September 16, 2010 11:52 am

    I’m thinking Perry could do well with this as he only seems to know how to direct archetypes or characters that seem to represent something. (I haven’t seen all his movies, just 3 or 4 of them). So he’s got that part going for him, at least. But we’ll see.

    I would’ve liked to see Debbie Morgan in this, but not sure what role she would have played. I just love her. Not a fan of Janet Jackson’s acting for the last decade (when was Poetic Justice?), but maybe she’ll be warmed back up for this one.

  15. September 16, 2010 12:29 pm

    I performed the “night with Beau Willie Brown” monologue for my dramatic interpretation piece in high school debate class. I am also super protective of anything Ntozake Shange produces, because she’s my favorite poet/author and I love everything she does. Having to get in the place you need to be in to do that monologue really got me in touch with the piece and made it very emotional for me, so hearing that of all people TYLER PERRY was doing the movie bout gave me a heart attack. I pretty much hate anything he does. So I guess we’ll see. But someone’s going to have to go first so they can warn me if it’s dream-killing.

  16. September 16, 2010 12:43 pm

    Also, I can’t believe out of all those actresses, Janet Jackson is playing the Lady in Red.

  17. Citizen Taqueau permalink
    September 30, 2010 7:19 pm

    By the way, I just revisited this thread and one para in my last long ass comment struck me wrong upon re-reading. I think I may have committed a rudeness in not making it clear that I don’t think of this story as “my” story in the way that Snarky’s and many other women on this thread rightly do. I’m a White woman who loves poetry, in particular women’s poetry, and is moved by the written, spoken, and performed word, and it hit me viscerally for those reasons, it is deeply special to me, and so I both hope and dread over this movie adaptation.

    However. “For Colored Girls…” is not only a “women’s” story, it’s specifically, purposely, a Black women’s story, and has a significance to Black women that goes beyond my personal whatever into a shared experience that is not mine to horn in on, exoticize, or gush over in a creepy White femiladyist manner. I don’t *think* I do those things, but I am not always conscious of when my privilege causes an odor. Because I get excited about all forms of culture at its best, I gush. If I crossed a line, I am truly sorry and hope it can be excused. I love and respect your writing and your brain, Ms. Snarky’s Machine, and I love participating in the conversations with all the awesome writers and commenters on FryButt and your home blog. And again, if this is all just over the top, ARGH. Love, Amy.

  18. September 30, 2010 7:27 pm

    Thank you for that, Citizen Taqueau and no worries from me. I definitely appreciate all that you wrote here. It means a lot 🙂

  19. Citizen Taqueau permalink
    September 30, 2010 8:06 pm

    Oh, good. Thank you, and likewise, it means a lot. Hearts for the smarts. Good night.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: