A Note from Mel

Make the connection…

After “For Colored Girls:” When a Black Man Tells a Black Woman’s Story November 6, 2010

This was my first time seeing a TP production in theatre, but I watched his other stuff on DVD. Somebody I knew always had one (or ten) of his DVDs. I am particularly turned off by hype and was never moved enough by the content of the previews to spend dollars. But this time, a trusted creative writer’s work, “For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf” was behind the hype. Had to see for myself.

Good or bad?  I guess how it was depends on how much salt you take with— do you want Ntozake Shange or Tyler Perry? Can there really be a happy medium? Maybe. The Shange moments shine, though there is plenty Perry in this movie for better or for worse.

Nevertheless, the acting was awesome though I couldn’t wait for Janet’s scenes to end. The green contacts she wears somehow limits access to her character and distracts from her already tampered-with beauty (though I love the new hair cut). I loved hearing the poems come from Rashad’s and Divine’s mouths like small flowers. The poetic delivery was superb.

On the other hand, there is the typical down-low brother (that is not in the original choreopoem) and has been done over and over again in nearly half of black movies over the past 10 years. I won’t go into detail so as not to spoil, but the fashion in which the DL brother is introduced to this film is not fresh or ground-breaking enough to break from original script; I don’t think it helped the movie one bit.

There are scenes that are hard for anyone to watch, but more so, for a mother. I resented these parts a bit and I could not keep my face dry. Extremely painful. I kept asking Perry (as if he was sitting next to me in the theatre), sensationalist or purist in intent? Was it necessary to go that far and at who’s expense?

For high points, the cast. Great choices. Awesome execution.

Low points, 1) some content didn’t match with the time. The 70s struggled with the 10s; 2) an overly-sensational scene here and there; 3) brothers depicted with no dimension (in a book about women); and 4) Tyler Perry’s typical PSA moments showed up somehow anyway.

I will say, this production is clearly no slap-stick Madea. I guess “good” or “bad” is not descriptive or accurate enough. For those who haven’t seen it, see it for yourself—listen to the poetry. Some worthy moments. Some less worthy.