Ntozake Shange – “Where there is a woman there is magic”

Pronouncing her name can be daunting and intimidating at first. Just like her work, her name boldly leaps from the page and resounds as it is spoken.

En-toe-zah-keh Shahn-gay

Ntozake produced many works, but for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuff was undoubtedly the most impressionable on me. At the young age of ten, I saw this play and was transfixed on and mesmerized by the colors, the words, and the raw emotion of each woman.

I can remember the excitement I felt by seeing all of these beautiful black women in different hues, adorning all types of hairstyles. Each of their bright colored dresses clinging to their breasts and flowing as they moved and danced. Imagine a wide-eyed young girl sitting so close to the stage that she had to look up to witness the performance. I still can see images of the lady in green strutting across the stage barefooted with long sleek ebony legs, exclaiming to the other women

“somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

not my poems or a dance i gave up in the street

but somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

like a kleptomaniac workin hard and forgettin while stealin this is mine/ this ain’t yr stuff/

now why don’t you put me back & let me hang out in my own self

somebody almost walked off wid alla my stuff

& didn’t care enuff to send a note home sayin

i waz late for my solo conversations

or two sizes too small for my own tacky skirts

what can anybody do wit somethin of no value on a open market/ did you get a dime for my things/

hey man/ where are you goin wid alla my stuff…”

By the play’s end, my fate was sealed. My interest in theater and drama had been sparked, which later propelled me on my own path of creative expression.

To our beloved playwright, poet, author and activist, thank you for being a powerful and creative force. Guiding every little black girl into womanhood through poetry, dance and music. May your body of work live on forever in our hearts.

~ McKinzie Manor ~

2 thoughts on “Ntozake Shange – “Where there is a woman there is magic”

  1. Hello. When I was on active duty during the 80’s and 90’s I used to read many of her books. I could never pronounce her name, but enjoyed her readings. #RIH Btw, I’m your long time buddy from twitter.. John. Have a good evening.

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