For Colored Girls

Release Date: November 5, 2010

She wants to be the one who's in control.

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New Jersey native Paulette Williams endured a strange and confusing childhood. Born to well educated and successful parents, the young girl found herself embroiled in the civil unrest of the 1950s. Due to the overturning of the separate but equal (wildly racist) educational doctrines in place prior to this period, Williams was bused to a previously all-white school. The students there treated her about what you would expect for the era. Williams never found her place in society as a child and her discontent spilled over into her college life, wherein a failed marriage and a general sense of alienation from society led her to attempt suicide. In spite of all her emotional turmoil, Williams was an academic achiever like her parents, earning a Master’s degree from UCLA, an impressive accomplishment for any woman in that era.

During her journey of self-discovery, Williams changed her name to Ntozake Shange and embarked on a career as a creator. After moving to New York City, the fledgling writer wrote what would become her first and most lasting work, the play entitled For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf. Originally a 20-part poem, the piece went from an off-Broadway sleeper hit to a Broadway success in a span of 18 months in the mid-1970s. Considered a seminal piece of 20th century African American literature, Shange’s work won numerous awards and is finally getting a long overdue movie adaptation. And the cast is sublime.

This is a list of the actresses who comprise the cast of For Colored Girls. It doubles as a Who’s Who of African American actresses in the industry. Alphabetically, they are Loretta Devine (Waiting to Exhale), Kimberly Elise (Diary of a Mad Black Woman), Whoopi Goldberg (The Color Purple), Janet Jackson (Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married?), Thandie Newton (Crash), Phylicia Rashad (The Cosby Show), Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls), Tessa Thompson (Veronica Mars) and Kerry Washington (Ray). Obviously, this is an impeccable cast whose composite presence is indicative of an end of year awards contender. And that is exactly what the buzz indicates could happen here as early commentary about the movie indicates this is director Tyler Perry’s best work to date.

Speaking of Perry, the eight films that he has directed have grossed $430 million, an average of roughly $54 million per production. He is a legitimate box office force and by all accounts a genuinely nice human being to boot. For Colored Girls is one of his most ambitious attempts to date, one that at a minimum will do well at the box office but is also poised to become one of his best regarded works. The only remaining question is whether it becomes his first major awards contender. (David Mumpower/BOP)

Vital statistics for For Colored Girls
Main Cast Janet Jackson, Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg
Supporting Cast Loretta Devine, Anika Noni Rose, Kimberly Elise, Kerry Washington, Phylicia Rashad
Director Tyler Perry
Screenwriter Tyler Perry
Distributor Lionsgate
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture



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