Black History: Special Delivery!!
Author, poet, spoken-word artist, and playwright Ntozake Shange (pronounced en-toh-ZAH-kee SHAHN-gay) died on October 27, 2018. She was 70 years old. Shange is best known for her prolific play, “For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf”.
At the time, the play was only the second by an African American woman on Broadway after, Lorraine Hansberry’s “A Raisin In The Son”. Shange was just 27 years old when the play premiered. Over 750 Broadway performances were held.
Shange has been referred to by Maiysha Kai as, “One of the original conjurers of what we now know as black girl magic“. Born Paulette Williams in 1948, she eventually changed her name to Ntozake Shange to identify with her African roots. Ntozake translated, in Zulu means “she who comes with her own things.” Shange means, “she who walks like a lion.”
Shange graduated from Trenton High School in New Jersey. She also graduated from Barnard College and the University of Southern California, earning a master’s degree in American studies.
Sara Bellamy said of Shange, “Ntozake Shange invited us to marvel at the resiliency and power that women of color harness in order to survive a hostile world. She invited us to practice the ritual of loving ourselves.”
Certainly this queen used the power of her pen to elevate the voices and experiences of black women. May she rest in power!