In 2010, Tyler Perry took on the challenge of adapting Ntozake Shange’s “for colored girls who have considered suicide / when the rainbow is enuf,” a masterful and honest affirmation of black sisterhood through stories of rape, abandonment, abortion and domestic violence. The reaction to Perry’s interpretation was mixed, at best, with most critics lauding the talent assembled for the cast, but turned off by Perry’s penchant for melodrama.
Defending his work at the film’s 2010 press junket, the writer-director-producer said the process of adapting Shange’s 1974 “choreopoem” format and 1976 theater piece was “extremely difficult.”
“I looked at it a million different times, like how do you tell this story? And I just started looking at Ntozake’s poems and I felt like each woman had something to say,” said Perry. “Each poem is a different woman to me.”
In remembrance of Shange, who died on Oct. 27 at the age of 70, her most famous work is discussed by the film’s Lady in Yellow, Lady in Pink and Lady in Blue – Anika Noni Rose, Macy Gray and Kerry Washington, respectively.