some hours ago, i went with friends to the midnight screening of tyler perry’s latest film, for colored girls, an adaptation of ntozake shange’s play, for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf. i still haven’t finished processing all the issues that were addressed, but given the onslaught of emotion i encountered during the film, and afterward, i had no choice but to start writing as soon as i got home.
as a colored girl who has considered attempted suicide when the rainbow was enuf, i think i had a different connection with the sorrow, despair, and utter helplessness the characters felt. though i (thankfully) have not experienced all the hardships addressed in the film, i’ve been through enough of them, plus some of my own, to relate. it’s a bit of a conundrum, being able to empathize with something so painful. on one hand, there’s a sense of relief in knowing that you are not alone in what you’ve faced. on the other, there’s a feeling of hurt and anger at the fact that you weren’t the only one. that hundreds, thousands, sometimes millions of others have been victims.
there are colored girls like yasmine, hollow and lacking light after falling prey to a man who refused to accept no for an answer. but many cannot find a semblance of peace in the fact that their attacker is dead. for some, he is a constant presence & reminder; a relative, a family friend, a boyfriend or husband. these ‘yasmines’ are frequently relegated to silence, because who would ever believe them?
there are colored girls like crystal, acquiescing to the downpour of blows from their abusers because they’ve become too tired to attempt to fight back. they fear for their sons, who are learning that violence is intrinsically intertwined with manhood. and for their daughters, whose lesson is that accepting it is a part of being a woman. there are girls like her, who, after facing the darkness of their situation, feel that death is the only way to change the scenery.
colored girls like juanita and jo give all of themselves to men that will only give some. they turn blind eyes to red flags, and label irreparable flaws as simple shortcomings. they put at risk their mental, emotional, and physical health for the sake of being “loved”. to “have someone”.
i could go on, to talk about the tangies, and gildas. alices, and kellys. but i think for colored girls is less about observing and analyzing the trials of other women, and more about figuring out what woman you are. who are you? why are you who you are? and where are you going?
…i am a colored girl who has considered attempted suicide when the rainbow was enuf. i have been silent. i have kept secrets. i have pretended that a number of irreversible wrongs never even happened to me at all. i have sat defeated on the side of my life’s road, observing the terrain behind and before me, convinced that my challenges were insurmountable. adorned with the warrior paint of tears and snot, i have spent long, sleepless, heartbroken nights fighting what seemed to be a losing battle with the demons of my past.
but i was victorious.
and now, this colored girl stands strong, shiny silver tape pulled from her lips so that she can speak out; for herself, and for those unwilling or unable to do so. she is not boisterous, nor is she too soft-spoken. her volume and tone compel you to listen. she smiles widely, reveling in her resilience, in her ability to continue on a road full of hills, potholes, and shattered glass. a road that if endured, will lead her to the end of her own rainbow. she is regal, triumphant.
and her love is too assiduous to be thrown back in her face.