This movie by Tyler Perry is based on the Obie Award-winning, dramatic prose poem- For colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange.
For Colored Girls is a story of seven women and the different struggles they go through. It has a feminist theme- at least that is the deduction that I drew from it. It is a very emotive movie and you might find yourself shedding a tear or two. I did, both times I watched it. But anyway, that depends on the person watching it. I liked the spoken word in the dialogue, which cleverly woven to tell the stories of these women.
Each of the women have struggles related directly to men in their lives. The sub themes are:
Sex Addiction– Thandie Newton plays Alice’s Eldest daughter, Tangie, who loves sex. She is using her body to torment men because of her inner unresolved conflicts. Double standards appear here because women are expected to handle themselves in a dignified manner. Most of the men sleeping with her equate her to a prostitute.
Abortion– Teressa Thompson, Nyla, is the young daughter who has unprotected sex on her graduation night. She is a dancer, waiting to go into college on sponsorship. When she discovers she is pregnant, she asks for 300 dollars college application fees that she wants to to procure an abortion. Her sister Tangie, refers her to a backstreet drunkard who nearly kills her. “I couldn’t bear to let her look at me pregnant”, she says, referring to her mother.
Religion– Whoopi Goldberg takes the part of an overly religious mother of two, Alice, who in my view, is hiding from the reality of abuse from her father through religion. Unfortunately, her daughters do not turn out as she would like, one a sex addict and the other ends up having a backstreet abortion. The irony is that she is disappointed by her daughters having sex, yet she subtly encourages the abortion. This shows a double standard in her values. “That which was growing in you was a sin, it must have been destroyed”, she tells her youngest daughter.
Rape– Anika Noni Rose, Yasmin is a dance tutor who undergoes date rape when she invites her date for dinner at her house. The police questioning makes one think that rape has to do with a woman’s suggestion. “Are you sure you didn’t do anything to suggest it?”
Domestic Violence– Kimberly Elsie, Crystal Lewis is an assistant who is a mother of two and lives with an abusive husband, Michael Elly, Beau. Beau is a former army man who turns to alcohol to drown his frustrations. He beats up his girlfriend and children and even ends up killing the children in a fit of jealousy.
Childlessness– Kerry Washington, is Kelly, the social worker who can’t have children because of an untreated STI. She has a supportive husband, Bill Harper, who is a police officer. She feels guilty for the death of Crystal’s children, because she could not rescue them from an abusive man.
HIV/AIDS and Infidelity– Janet Jackson plays Joanna Bradmore the role of a wife who has it all put together. The no nonsense boss who has a husband who feels he has to spend their money without her consent to feel like a man. She ends up infected with HIV because her husband is a man who loves sleeping with men.
Love and acceptance– Yuanita Sims is a memorable character. The nurse running the community center for women. Played by Loretta Devine, she portrays a woman who empowers other women, yet yearns the love of a man who throws her love in her face one too many times. A man who comes to her when he needs her and leaves when she needs him. I particularly love this poem when she decided to let go:
Somebody almost walked off with all of my stuff
And didn’t care enough to send a note home saying I was late for my solo conversation
Or too sizes too small for my own tacky skirts
What can anybody do with something of a nobellier on an open market?
Did you get a dime for my things?
Hey man, where are you going with all of my stuff?
This is a woman’s tripping, I need my stuff to ooh and aaah about
Honest to God! Somebody almost ran with all of my stuff
And I didn’t bring anything but the kick and sway of it
The perfect ass for my man and none of it is theirs
This is mine…Phemelo’s own things,…
That’s my name now give me my stuff
I see you hiding my laugh and how
I sit with my leg open sometimes to get my crutch some sunglight
This is some delicate leg and whimsical kiss
I gotta have to get to my choice
So you can’t have me unless I give me away
And I was doing all that till you ran off on a good thing
And who is this you left me with? A bad attitude
I want my things, I want my Oooh with a hot iron scar,
I want my leg with the flee bite, yeah I want my things
I want my calouse feet and quick language back in my mouth
I want my own things how I love them
Somebody almost ran off with all of my stuff
And I was standing there looking at myself the whole time
It wast spirit that ran off with my stuff
It was a man who’s ego won’t drown like road ants shadow
It was a man faster than my innocence
It was a lover I made too much room for almost ran off with all of my stuff
And the one running with it, don’t know he got it
I’m shouting this is mine and he don’t , and he don’t even know he got it
My stuff is the anonymous ripped off treasure of the year
Did you know somebody almost got away with me!
Me! in a plastic bag under his arm, Me! Phemelo Motona!
Somebody almost walked off with all of my stuff!