African American Women
I write as a sista witness/ a woman of african descent living in north america/ who came of age and came to artistic and political consciousness in the mid to late 1970s/ in the aftermath of the 1960s civil rights movement/ as a young adult(hood)/ looking out at the world/ the decade of the 1970s was an era that delivered promise of New Art from black women/ 1974/ these times delivered/ a bright comet crossed the cultural landscape/ ntozake shange, author of for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf. a choreopoem.
com.et--a heavenly body in the solar system, having a starlike nucleus with a luminous mass around it, and, usually, a long, luminous tail that points away from the sun: comets follow an elliptical or parabolic orbit around the sun
Before for colored girls, I would never have thought to punctuate the opening paragraph of a critical essay using a slash (solidus) in place of a period. I borrowed elements of the author's style to recollect the impact of Ntozake Shange on the written word from which her revolutionary choreopoem emerged. Influenced by poetic structure, two of many stylistical and syntactical reinventions of the dramatic text were the use of the slash mark in place of the period, the use of lower case letters to subvert the capitalization of words, and the attendant value judgments that afford some words and not others the status of proper nouns. In literature and in performance, Shange freed herself from Western convention and claimed the space of cultural sovereignty for African American playwrights.
Ntozake Shange delivered on the promise of a liberated and liberating black female voice. Within the context of the African American female dramatic canon, this choreopoem was the theatrical event of the decade. It was developed